Kelo et al v. City of New London

The Supreme Court has given the government permission to use eminent domain powers to seize homes and businesses for private development. This 5-4 decision by the court will up the ante in the eminent domain debate. The court's reasoning?

“The city has carefully formulated an economic development that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including—but by no means limited to—new jobs and increased tax revenue,” Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority.

All it takes to steal my neighbor's property is a business plan? Previous precedent required evidence of a blighted neighborhood to allow this sort of a taking. Now, as Justice O'Connor warns, it has been widened:

“Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random,” Justice O'Connor wrote. “The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms.”

There are prominent examples of that in Las Vegas already, and in Oregon similar kinds of takings due to zoning were combatted with Measure 37:

the owner of private real property is entitled to receive just compensation when a land use regulation is enacted after the owner or a family member became the owner of the property if the regulation restricts the use of the property and reduces its fair market value.

Will the Supreme Court come along and throw out Measure 37 as well? Will it take a national constitutional amendment to set the limits on what the government can take? I will be interesting to see what the Castle Coalition says about this new development.

Update: I'm adding this to the Beltway Traffic Jam.

Josh Poulson

Posted Thursday, Jun 23 2005 09:17 AM

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There are 2 comments on this entry.

Welcome to the 21st Century USSR, where States have no rights to adopt local regulatory laws on things like medical marijuana, the FBI can search your house and records and never tell you (not to mention detain you indefinitely without telling your family,) and Corps can take your property using the majesty of the Government as their enforcement tool.

Yes, the Goppers have shown themselves to be much more about "freedom" than the dems...


Posted Friday, Jun 24 2005 07:11 AM

I thought Justice Thomas wrote the perfect irony in his concurring dissent.

The Court has elsewhere recognized “the overriding respect for the sanctity of the home that has been embedded in our traditions since the origins of the Republic,” Payton, supra, at 601, when the issue is only whether the government may search a home. Yet today the Court tells us that we are not to “second-guess the City’s considered judgments,” ante, at 18, when the issue is, instead, whether the government may take the infinitely more intrusive step of tearing down petitioners’ homes. Something has gone seriously awry with this Court’s interpretation of the Constitution. Though citizens are safe from the government in their homes, the homes themselves are not.

From Page 53 of the KELO v. CITY OF NEW LONDON .

Cross posted from Sound Politics in Comments to June 23, 2005

StephenR from Houston

Posted Sunday, Jun 26 2005 09:45 AM

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