The Constitution as Idea: Defining Describing Deciding in Kelo

25 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2006 Last revised: 29 Apr 2013

See all articles by Marc Lane Roark

Marc Lane Roark

University of Tulsa College of Law; University of Pretoria, S.A.; The Savannah Law School

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Date Written: August 1, 2006


In June 2005, the Supreme Court in a Five to Four Decision marked its most controversial decision in recent memory. The case of Kelo v. City of New London, set off a fire storm of response to the Court's ruling that economic development takings satisfied the Fifth Amendment. This essay is about how the Court uses words, how the defining ability of words create institutional space in which the Court operates, and which defines things beyond the words. The essay focuses on notions of Space and Place to define physical ideas and institutional ideas.

Keywords: Kelo, Constitutional Law, Fifth Amendment, Emminent domain, space, place, o'connor

Suggested Citation

Roark, Marc L., The Constitution as Idea: Defining Describing Deciding in Kelo (August 1, 2006). California Western Law Review, Vol. 43, No. 363, 2006, Available at SSRN: or

Marc L. Roark (Contact Author)

University of Tulsa College of Law ( email )

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University of Pretoria, S.A. ( email )

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The Savannah Law School ( email )

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