Eminent Domain Abuse and Civil Forfeiture

October 22, 2015 | 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm | Broyhill Auditorium, 1834 Wake Forest Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27106

Two of the Biggest Threats to Private Property Rights in America Today

Scott Bullock 2.5Scott Bullock joined the Institute for Justice at its founding in 1991 and now serves as a senior attorney. He argued the landmark case, Kelo v. City of New London, one of the most controversial and widely discussed U.S. Supreme Court decisions in decades. Among his work on other constitutional issues, Bullock represented the monks of St. Joseph Abbey in their challenge to a Louisiana law that prevented them from selling hand-made wooden caskets. That case led to a landmark decision by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals protecting economic liberty. He has published articles in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and he has appeared on 60 Minutes, ABC Nightly News, and National Public Radio, among many other publications and broadcasts.

Mr. Bullock will address the issue of Eminent domain, the power of the government to take private property for a “public use” such as bridges and roads. In the 1990s and early 2000s, local governments increasingly used eminent domain for private development. In Kelo v. New London the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government could condemn homes and businesses, not for general public use but to hand them over to private developers for the ‘betterment of the community.’ As a result of the Kelo case, 44 states passed laws prohibiting a repeat of such an event in their states.

Civil forfeiture allows law enforcement to seize and keep or sell private property alleged to have been involved in a crime. Owners need not ever have been arrested or convicted of a crime in order for their cash, cars, or even real estate to be taken away permanently by the government. Forfeiture was originally presented as a way to cripple large-scale criminal enterprises by diverting their resources. But today, aided by deeply flawed federal and state laws, many police departments use forfeiture to benefit their bottom lines, making seizures motivated by profit rather than crime-fighting.

Mr. Bullock will be speaking at the Wake Forest University School of Business, in the Broyhill Auditorium.

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