Property Metaphors and Kelo v. New London: Two Views of the Castle
Eduardo M. Penalver
Cornell University - Law School
February 3, 2006
Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 108
Much of the popular outcry against the Supreme Court's decision in Kelo v. New London can be understood in terms of the public's commitment to the conception of the home as a castle. This familiar metaphor is typically viewed as aligned with libertarian conceptions of property and of the right to exclude. Taken to its logical conclusion, the metaphor's connotation of an owner's "absolute dominion" would seem to rule out the exercise of eminent domain altogether. A different understanding of the castle metaphor is possible, however, one rooted in notions of the dignity of home ownership. While such a dignitary understanding of the home as the castle remains true to the intuitions underlying the metaphor, it yields a far more flexible stance towards eminent domain.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 6
Date posted: February 6, 2006