The Institute for Justice, a non-profit libertarian law firm, sends the following release:
Arlington, Va.—Anti-eminent domain heroine Susette Kelo will soon join the likes of Erin Brockovich and Norma Rae in seeing her real-world drama turned into a mainstream movie.
Kelo lost her little pink house in a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in which the Court ruled that eminent domain could be used to take homes for private development projects—a decision that outraged the nation.
Lifetime Television is adapting the critically acclaimed Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage by Jeff Benedict into a movie that is expected to move into production this fall and is slated for release sometime next year on the cable movie station. Brooke Shields will serve as both executive producer and star. Joining Shields as executive producer are Michael R. Goldstein and Michael G. Larkin of Larkin-Goldstein Productions.
"The Institute for Justice has worked tirelessly before and after the Kelo ruling to reform eminent domain laws nationwide to better protect homeowners," said Chip Mellor, president and general counsel of the Institute for Justice, which represented Kelo and her neighbors in their landmark U.S. Supreme Court case. This month, the Institute for Justice marks its twentieth anniversary of litigating for liberty. Mellor said, "We hope this movie will inspire further reforms to end eminent domain for private gain once and for all."
The saga of Susette Kelo's little pink house started shortly after Pfizer—the pharmaceutical giant—announced it would move its research and development headquarters into New London, Conn. A local development agency sweetened Pfizer's deal by abusing its power of eminent domain; the agency sought to take a nearby neighborhood, where Kelo and her neighbors lived, to create a private development complex that would complement Pfizer's new center. Not so much as one building of the promised development has ever been constructed and in November 2009, Pfizer announced it would close its New London headquarters. More than six years after the redevelopment scheme passed constitutional muster before the U.S. Supreme Court—allowing government to take land from one private owner only to hand that land over to another private party who happens to have more political influence—the plant has closed and the very land where Susette Kelo's home once stood remains barren to all but feral cats, seagulls and weeds.