Susette Kelo, the woman known for her courageous stand against eminent domain abuse in the Supreme Court case, Kelo v. City of New London, will have her name added to the American National Tree, a popular exhibit inside The Story of We the People at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Penn. The ceremony will take place on Friday, September 17, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. The exhibit tells the stories of more than 100 Americans whose actions have helped write the story of the Constitution.
“The stand taken by Susette Kelo and her neighbors truly transformed this nation for the better,” said Institute for Justice Senior Attorney Scott Bullock, who argued Kelo’s case before the Supreme Court and who will appear with Kelo at the ceremony. “It is only appropriate that the Constitution Center recognize the historic role played by the homeowners in New London who stood up for their rights and, in so doing, fought for the property rights of all Americans.”
The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision against Kelo sparked a nation-wide backlash against eminent domain abuse, leading eight state supreme courts and 43 state legislatures to strengthen protections for property rights. Moreover, in the five years since the Kelo decision, citizen activists have defeated 44 projects that sought to abuse eminent domain for private development.
The event will be held on Constitution Day (September 17), marking the 223rd anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. The Center selected high school student Nick Liu of North Carolina as the winner of the 2010 M.R. Robinson National Constitution Center American National Tree Award. Liu will write the biography of Kelo that will be featured in the exhibit.
Following the 10:00 a.m. ceremony, visitors are invited to the Grand Hall Overlook at 10:30 a.m. for a special reading by Liu of his winning essay on Kelo, as well as a question-and-answer session with Susette Kelo and Scott Bullock.