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News Release

Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
901 South Bond Street, Suite 540
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Phone: 443-287-9960 | Fax: 443-287-9920

August 25, 2005
CONTACT: Amy Cowles

Constitutional Law Forum Focuses on
Eminent Domain Case

A fervent critic of the Supreme Court's controversial recent decision on eminent domain is the featured speaker at The Johns Hopkins University's 2005 Constitutional Forum, a discussion of important legal issues held in conjunction with the annual observance of Constitution Day.

Richard Epstein, the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, will speak at 8 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 19, in Hodson Hall Auditorium on the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus, 3400 N. Charles St. in Baltimore.

Epstein's lecture, "Public Use v. Public Benefit: What's the Difference in a Word?," will address the Supreme Court's June 23 decision in the case known as Kelo v. New London. The court, split 5-4, allowed that Connecticut city to proceed with plans to condemn privately owned land for redevelopment that was said to benefit the entire community.

The lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer session. For information, the general public should call 443-287-9900.

Since 1972, Epstein has taught at the University of Chicago Law School, where he directs the John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics. He has written books and articles on a wide range of legal and interdisciplinary subjects and taught courses on variety of subjects, including civil procedure, communications, constitutional law, contracts, corporations, criminal law, health law and policy, legal history, labor law, property, real estate development and finance, jurisprudence, labor law; land use planning, patents, individual, estate and corporate taxation, Roman Law; torts, and workers' compensation. A complete bio is online at http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/epstein/index.html.

In the June 27 Wall Street Journal, Epstein wrote an op-ed about the Kelo case, castigating the court's decision in favor of New London.

"The court could only arrive at its shameful Kelo ruling by refusing to look closely at past precedent and constitutional logic," Epstein wrote. "Courts that refuse to see no evil and hear no evil are blind to the endemic risk of factional politics at all levels of government. And being blind, this bare Supreme Court majority has sustained a scandalous and cruel act for no public purpose at all." [The complete text of the op-ed is online at www.law.uchicago.edu/news/epsteinkelo.html. The Supreme Court's Kelo decision is online at straylight.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/04- 108.ZS.html.]

The 2005 Constitutional Forum is supported by the George Huntington William Memorial Lectureship, established to honor the memory of George Huntington Williams, a pioneer in the microscopic study of rocks and minerals. He was the university's first professor of petrology and founded what was then called the Department of Geology (now Earth and Planetary Sciences) in the late 1880s. In 1917, his family created an endowment in his memory for lectures by distinguished public figures on topics of widespread contemporary interest. Past speakers have included Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Russian President Boris Yeltsin, and U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim.

The Sept. 19 forum will also celebrate Constitution Day, officially Saturday, Sept.17. That is the day in 1787 when delegates convened for the final time to sign the Constitution. For information, visit www.archives.gov/national-archives- experience/charters/constitution/constitution- day.html.

The 2005 Constitutional Forum is sponsored by the Office of the President in conjunction with the Department of Political Science and the Institute for Policy Studies.

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