Brooke Shields to Star in Lifetime Movie as Susette Kelo, of Kelo v. New London
It sounds like a Lifetime movie: The Man threatens to bulldoze Susette Kelo’s modest home—painted pink with a white-railed porch and a large American flag out front—to make room for a shopping mall and office park. With the help of a small, dedicated team of libertarian public-interest lawyers, she takes her case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Well, soon it will be a movie, and it will in fact air on Lifetime. Brooke Shields will play Susette Kelo.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. New London was one of the least popular in recent memory. But the loss in the highest court became something of a win in the court of public opinion. Loud protests on both the Right and Left immediately erupted, and the Court’s decision itself seemed to invite states to override the decision legislatively, something they did across the country, including in Pennsylvania. The cruel twist to the story was that after New London took and razed a number of homes, anchor tenant Pfizer bailed out of the development that drove the taking. The parcel of land in question remains a “90-acre swath of nothingness.” The little pink house in question was purchased by a preservationist and moved across town. And, in the category of too little too late, the Connecticut Supreme Court justice who cast the deciding vote apologized to Kelo, publicly and in person.
Now the controversy will have its own heart-rending TV movie with a faded Hollywood star. Which could prove important, because the saga of Kelo is still unfolding. Only last month, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held hearings to examine the impact of eminent-domain takings on minorities and the poor, who are typically weaker politically and therefore more vulnerable to takings, such as “blight” takings, which often attract criticism as susceptible to exploitation. With cities and towns desperately seeking private development during the nation’s economic hangover, this saga is not likely over. Stay tuned.