Richard Epstein on the Didden Pretextual Takings Case:

University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein has an excellent column discussing recent development in the case of Didden v. Village of Port Chester, the notorious takings case where a politically connected developer was able to get a property condemned because the current owners refused to pay him the $800,000 he demanded as the price for leaving them alone.

Epstein and I earlier joined several other property scholars in filing an amicus brief unsuccessfully urging the Supreme Court to hear this case, which went against the property owners in the Second Circuit on the ground that this kind of government favoritism was permitted under Kelo v. City of New London. In our view, this kind of clearly pretextual taking is forbidden even under Kelo's extremely lax standards. But the Court refused to take the case.

In this column, Epstein points out that not only is the owners' land being taken for indefensible reasons, they also aren't being paid anything approaching adequate compensation for the loss of their property.

Last year, Epstein and I published an op ed further discussing the case in the National Law Journal (full text available now only to subscribers; but this sentence links to excerpts).