Scott Bullock

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For the American voice actor, see S. Scott Bullock.
Scott G. Bullock
Born Guantanamo Bay[1]
Residence Washington, D.C.
Citizenship American
Education Grove City College B.A.
Economics and Philosophy[1]
Alma mater Pittsburgh Law School[1]
Occupation Civil rights attorney[1]
Organization Institute for Justice[1]
Known for Lead attorney in
Kelo v New London[1]
Notable work Policing for Profit
Home town Pittsburgh[1]
Awards Charles G. Koch Award 2005[2]
Civil rights prize 2002[3]

Scott G. Bullock is an American civil rights lawyer who focuses on property rights issues such as eminent domain and civil forfeiture which often involve disputes between the government and private persons.[4] He is notable for defending Susette Kelo in the landmark eminent domain 2005 Supreme Court case of Kelo v. City of New London,[5][6][7] and for defending numerous persons who lost property because of asset forfeitures by local and federal authorities.[8] He is a prominent advocate for property rights and economic liberty.[4] He is senior attorney at the nonprofit public interest law firm in Arlington, Virginia entitled the Institute for Justice.[4]


Bullock was born in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and grew up outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He received his B.A. in economics and philosophy from Grove City College and his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.[1] Bullock joined the Institute for Justice at its founding in 1991.[1] Since then, he has been involved in a number of high-profile cases challenging the use of eminent domain for private development.


Bullock was lead co-counsel in the 2005 landmark Supreme Court case Kelo v. City of New London.[9] After the decision by the high court to allow the City of New London to seize the homes and businesses of current residences to make room for a "90-acre office, hotel, and housing complex", Bullock said that it was "a sad day for the country and a sad day for the Constitution."[9] He was also co-counsel in the Ohio Supreme Court case Norwood, Ohio v. Horney. For his work in the area of property rights and eminent domain litigation, Bullock was awarded the top civil rights prize by the Mississippi state chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 2002.[3]

Bullock is a staunch advocate against abuses of civil forfeiture.[10][11] He argued that when civil forfeiture ensnarls innocent persons, authorities do not "respect fundamental notions of due process", he said in an interview with the Washington Post.[12] He defended the Caswell family, who owned a motel in Massachusetts, in the case United States v. 434 Main Street, Tewksbury, Mass. (The Motel Caswell); police tried to seize the Tewksbury, Massachusetts property after there were incidents of illegal drug activity on the premises.[13][14] Bullock won the case and the motel owners got to keep their motel, although it was an expensive ordeal; Bullock said that "people shouldn't lose their property if they haven't been convicted of any crime.[14] He argued that the principle of equitable sharing, in which state and federal law enforcement officers share the proceeds of seized assets, "effectively subverts the will and intent of the state legislatures", since it means that police can use more lenient federal standards to seize property while avoiding tougher state laws restricting asset seizures.[4][14] He has been involved in First Amendment and commercial speech cases. He is an advocate for parental rights[15] He has published his views on constitutional issues in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, 60 Minutes, ABC Nightly News, National Public Radio, and many other publications and broadcasts.[1] He is the author of Policing for Profit. Bullock's volunteer activities include serving on the board of directors of HR-57, a Washington, D.C.-based music and cultural center dedicated to the preservation of jazz and on the board of a national, grass-roots civil forfeiture reform organization.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Scott G. Bullock, Institute for Justice, Retrieved Oct. 18, 2014
  2. ^ Institute for Humane Studies, George Mason University, Scott Bullock: 2005 RECIPIENT OF THE CHARLES G. KOCH OUTSTANDING ALUMNI AWARD, Retrieved October 18, 2014
  3. ^ a b Eminent Domain Use and Abuse: Kelo in Context, Dwight H. Merriam, Mary Massaron Ross, American Bar Association, 2006, Scott Bullock, Retrieved Oct. 18, 2014, "...Mr. Bullock was awarded the top civil rights prize in 2002..."
  4. ^ a b c d Radley Balko (July 31, 2014). "Rep. Tim Walberg introduces bill to curb asset forfeiture abuse". Washington Post. Retrieved October 18, 2014. 
  5. ^ Jeff Jacoby (February 27, 2005). "Will court curb eminent domain?". Boston Globe. Retrieved October 18, 2014. ...BEGINNING his oral argument in Kelo v. City of New London, the Connecticut eminent-domain case the Supreme Court took up last week, Scott Bullock... 
  6. ^ Oyez: Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. ___ (2005), U.S. Supreme Court Case Summary & Oral Argument
  7. ^ Charles Lane (February 23, 2005). "Defining Limits of Eminent Domain: High Court Weighs City's Claim to Land". Washington Post. Retrieved October 18, 2014. ...Page A06...Scott G. Bullock of the libertarian Institute for Justice, said that if New London, Conn., can use its power of eminent domain to force Susette Kelo and six other owners to sell... 
  8. ^ Blake Nicholson, Associated Press (March 1, 2007). "N.D. lawmakers approve asset-seizure law". Boston Globe. Retrieved October 18, 2014. ...Scott Bullock, a senior attorney for the Arlington, Va.-based Institute for Justice, which challenged the car seizure..... 
  9. ^ a b Warren Richey (June 24, 2005). "Court widens scope of property seizure: It rules 5 to 4 that local governments can take homes and other property for private development.". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved October 18, 2014. ...Facing the wrecking ball are 15 homes and businesses owned by seven families... Scott Bullock, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice... "a sad day for the country and a sad day for the Constitution."... 
  10. ^ Erin O'Neill (October 16, 2014). "'Piano Man' fighting state to save parents' Atlantic City house". Retrieved October 18, 2014. ...“Unfortunately, local governments in New Jersey have been very aggressive about using eminent domain,” said Scott Bullock, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice who represented a group of Long Branch homeowners .... 
  11. ^ Joan Biskupic (September 28, 2004). "Justices take eminent-domain case". USA Today. Retrieved October 18, 2014. ...Scott Bullock, ...if the justices adopt the Connecticut court's reasoning, any home or small business could be condemned and replaced by a project that produces more tax revenue.... 
  12. ^ Robert O’Harrow Jr., Michael Sallah (September 8, 2014). "They fought the law. Who won?: Many drivers faced a long ordeal in court to try to get their money back from police". Washington Post. Retrieved October 18, 2014. ...Scott Bullock, senior attorney ... “It should not exist in a country that respects fundamental notions of due process.”... 
  13. ^ JOHN R. EMSHWILLER, GARY FIELDS and JENNIFER LEVITZ (October 18, 2011). "Motel Is Latest Stopover in Federal Forfeiture Battle". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 18, 2014. ..."People shouldn't lose their property if they haven't been convicted of any crime," said Scott Bullock,... 
  14. ^ a b c Denise Lavoie (December 29, 2011). "Mass. budget motel fights forfeiture by feds". Boston Globe. Retrieved October 18, 2014. ...Caswell's lawyers s..Bullock argues that equitable sharing allows federal officials to circumvent state forfeiture laws... 
  15. ^ Lyle Denniston (June 6, 2000). "Justices bolster parents' rights: Ruling is setback for court-ordered grandparents' visits Court trims state's right to `inject' itself into families". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved October 18, 2014. ...Advocates of parental rights ... state law's sweeping intrusion into the family realm," as Scott Bullock, an attorney with the family advocacy group Institute for Justice, put it.... 

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