Republican Convention 2016

Republican Platform Denounces Kelo, the Eminent Domain Ruling That Trump Called 'Wonderful'

Republican Platform vs. Republican presidential nominee


Gage Skidmore /

The 2016 Republican Party Platform contains a section titled "The Fifth Amendment: Protecting Private Property." In it, the Republican Platform denounces the Supreme Court's 2005 ruling in Kelo v. City of New London for undermining the Fifth Amendment "by allowing local governments to seize a person's home or land not only for vital public use, but also for 'public purpose,' which thus allowed the government to seize it for transfer to private developers or other private entities." The platform then goes on to praise various state and federal lawmakers who have proposed or enacted various pieces of anti-Kelo legislation.

I wonder if Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has had the opportunity to read this section of the platform on which he is ostensibly running for president. After all, unlike the Republican Party Platform, Donald Trump happens to be a huge admirer of the Supreme Court's Kelo decision. Indeed, Trump has repeatedly praised Kelo as "wonderful" and made it quite clear that he thinks the Court got it right.

In fact, not only does Trump love Kelo, Trump has tried to personally profit from Kelo-style eminent domain abuse. In 1994 Trump joined forces with government officials in Atlantic City in the hopes of kicking an elderly widow out of her home in order to make way for a limousine parking lot for the Trump Plaza hotel and casino. Thankfully, Trump and his government pals were laughed out of court.

Trump, however, remains unapologetic about that shameful episode. For example, after I wrote a column in October 2015 detailing Trump's ugly record on eminent domain, the conservative site Breitbart asked Trump to respond to me and other critics. Trump responded by doubling down on his support for Kelo-style eminent domain abuse.

So which is it, GOP? Is Donald Trump correct that Kelo is a "wonderful" decision? Or is the Republican Platform correct that Kelo is an unconstitutional assault on the Fifth Amendment? You can only pick one.