A divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday that local governments may seize people’s homes and businesses against their will for private development in a decision anxiously awaited in communities where economic growth often is at war with individual property rights.
The 5-4 ruling represented a defeat for some Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas.
As a result, cities now have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes in order to generate tax revenue.
More at CNN.
Vilmar Tavares is on a tear.
McGehee writes: “Forget the Schiavo case—if you want to see a ruling that leads to contempt for, and anger at, the judiciary, over the long term this is the one.”
Another keen observation: “While You Were Busy Protesting The Patriot Act…
…the government took your house. I’m sure the residents of New London, Connecticut will be happy to know that while their houses are being demolished, their library records will be safely locked away.
Quickest spoofer in the ‘sphere: The Therapist announces, “DC Mayor To Bulldoze Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s House For Homeless Shelter.”
Professor Bainbridge: The decision is a moral outrage.
Instapundit draws out political implications.
251pm. The Corner mulls over the political implications as well.
The blogger/reader reaction is fierce, with calls for everything from impeaching the Kelo majority to passing some sort of constitutional amendment.
I’d suggest donating to the intrepid Institute for Justice. IJ’s president, Chip Mellor, vows:
“Today’s decision doesn’t end the Institute for Justice’s fight against abuses of eminent domain. We will work to ensure not only that the property owners in New London keep their homes, but that all home and small business owners are protected from these unconstitutional land grabs by governments and their business allies. This is a terrible precedent that must be overturned by this Court, just as bad state supreme court eminent domain decisions in Michigan and Illinois were later overturned by those courts.”
315pm. Liberal blogger Roger Ailes snorts that conservative critics of the ruling are “all frauds” because they didn’t criticize W.’s sports corporate welfare deal in Texas.
The real frauds are bleeding-heart liberal poseurs who decry Big Business–except when they’re conspiring with them in the name of “community redevelopment” and “blight eradication.” On the left, Ralph Nader (and you know I disagree with him 99.999 percent of the time) has been an outspoken and persistent critic of these deals. He’s the exception, not the rule.
Bryan at Arguing with Signposts has much more.
Rick at Stones Cry Out, who is a conservative city planner (guess they do exist), has a detailed analysis of the ruling.
Dan Ackman at Forbes.com on “hortatory fluff.”
Clayton Cramer asks: “What’s the point of a written Constitution if the rights that are explicitly there get ignored, and rights that no one bothered to get approved by Congress and ratified by the states, are upheld?”
And reader Mark K. writes: “I guess we should have been expecting a decision like this since the Supreme Court justices have been citing precedents from
Zimbabawe. Why shouldn’t they endorse the type of land expropriation that Robert Mugabe has been practicing there?”
Jeff G. at Protein Wisdom: “I’m for starting a cyber support group for the New Londoners who are planning a show of civil disobedience when the bulldozers tractor up to the doors of their homes. Anybody else?”
My old friends at the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, who filed an amicus brief in the Kelo case, react here.
And the gentlemen at Power Line weigh in here and here. They are absolutely right that the ruling is no surprise to those who have been following the takings battles and the silly putty stretching of the “public use” rationale for private property confiscation by government.
Now that the Supreme Court has put all homeowners on notice, maybe more will start paying attention.