Supreme Neglect of Text and History
Supreme Neglect: How to Revive Constitutional Protection for Private Property. By Richard A. Epstein. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. 2008. Pp. xiv, 169. $19.95.
Since his classic book Takings appeared in 1985, Richard Epstein’s ideas have profoundly shaped debate about the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause to a degree that no other scholar can even begin to approach. His broad, original, and stunningly ambitious reading of the clause has powerfully influenced thinking in academia, in the judiciary, and in the political arena. The firestorm of controversy that followed the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Kelo—in which the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a municipal urban renewal plan that displaced long-time homeowners and conveyed their land to developers—is in critical part a testament to the way in which the intellectual framework and normative arguments pioneered and championed by Professor Epstein have entered, not just the mainstream of legal thought, but the mainstream of politics.