When I read Jeff Benedict's, Little Pink House, I did not get what I was expecting. I got something much more enjoyable and satisfying. I was expecting to gain some insight into the US Supreme Court's landmark eminent domain decision in Kelo v. New London. Instead, I was treated to the opportunity to meet Susette Kelo and the other residents of the Fort Trumbull section of New London, Connecticut and the government officials who were responsibile for the decisions that affect people's lives. For students, there will be no great insight into the judicial decision-making process. But there will be the unmistakable lesson that beyond the words on the paper and the legal principles, all these judicial decision affect the lives of real people in real ways. Too often students are willing to accept judicial decisions as foregone conclusions. I hear students react to cases droning complacently, "The court had no choice, because that is the law." This book will help students realize that judicial determinations are the product of choices - choices made by government officials at all levels, by business leaders, by corporate managers, by regualr people and, even by judges. And those choices have consequences.
Little Pink House is apparently being made into a Lifetime TV movie starring Brooke Shields as Susette Kelo. I hope the movie does justice to the story.
Those of you who are not situated here in New England may not be aware of the ironic sequel to the story. The massive governmental land grab that was approved by the court was to allow for a development to complement a nearby research campus built by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. The preferred developer for the parcel never got funded and never built anything and Pfizer ultimately abandoned the research campus that started the whole ball rolling.
A related post is here.