Ohio Supreme Court Hears Eminent Domain Case

The Ohio Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in Norwood v. Horney today. The case is potentially precedent setting because it the first eminent domain case to be heard by a state supreme court since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the City of New London’s condemnations and takings for economic development last June. Eminent domain for economic development began in earnest after the Michigan Supreme Court upheld Detroit’s condemnations of the Poletown neighborhood to make was for a GM plant (since closed) in the mid-1980s. Thus, state court rulings can carry significant weight on eminent domain issues. Moreover, in Kelo, the U.S. Supreme Court was explicit in its statements that states could adopt more stringent standards for using eminent domain. In Norwood, an older suburb just north of Cincinnati, the city condemned a neighborhoood to make way for a multimillion retail and shopping complex. The condemnation was justified based on a study funded by the developer that found the neighborhood was “deteriorating” (re: old). The Reason Foundation filed an amicus brief supporting the property owners, and more information on the Foundations work on eminent domain can be found here . The Institute for Justice is litigating for the homeowners. The Ohioi Supreme Court provides live video streaming of oral arguments. We’ll be reporting on the case’s progress on Out of Control blog.

Samuel R. Staley, Ph.D. is a senior research fellow at Reason Foundation and managing director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University in Tallahassee where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in urban planning, regulation, and urban economics. Prior to joining Florida State, Staley was director of urban growth and land-use policy for Reason Foundation where he helped establish its urban policy program in 1997.