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The Law and Expressive Meaning of Condemning the Poor after Kelo

27 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2006  

Date Written: July 2006


The Supreme Court's decision in the Kelo case has been widely criticized, and has ignited a firestorm of reform in the states. Twenty-three state legislatures have passed reform statutes, and nineteen of these statutes have been signed into law. Reform legislation has been introduced in at least 13 other states. This Essay addresses the question of what message is sent by - what is the expressive meaning of - the Kelo-inspired reform movement. My argument is that, in substantial part, this reform movement privileges the stability of middle-class households relative to the stability of poor households, and in so doing, expresses the view that the interests and needs of poor households are relatively unimportant.

Suggested Citation

Dana, David A., The Law and Expressive Meaning of Condemning the Poor after Kelo (July 2006). Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 917891; Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 917891. Available at SSRN: or

David Dana (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-0240 (Phone)
312-503-2035 (Fax)

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