Roger Kimball is posting about Bulldozed: “Kelo,” Eminent Domain and the American Lust for Land, the book his firm Encounter Books published,
which was the subject of a defamation suit brought by the wealthy Texas developer H. Walker Royall. Royall must have really disliked the book. He sued:
1. Encounter Books (of which I am the publisher);
2. The author, Carla Main;
3. The law professor Richard Epstein, whose tort was to have provided a blurb for the book (yes, you read that correctly: Epstein wrote a blurb: Royall sued him);
4. A Texas newspaper, whose sin was to have run a positive review of the book;
5. And the hapless author of that review.
It lead to A free speech fight as big as Texas, which has a happy ending as it also is a victory for free speech,
In ruling this way, the court preserved the right to criticize government without fear that persons who do business with municipalities will sue, saying they were personally defamed by mere association with government. One can easily imagine the chilling effect the absence of this protection would have on free speech in an age of public-private real estate partnerships, bank bailouts, the Solyndra loan and other government forays into the private sector.
You can buy Bulldozed’s Kindle version and read it right away.