I’ve been following this case (Kelo vs. New London) for a while now since it originated here in Connecticut, but when I saw the U.S. Supreme Court affirm the decision of the CT Supreme Court, I was outraged and amazed.
I get the idea of eminent domain (hell, I used to practice real estate law… until I wised up. lol), but this decision could have ugly and far-reaching consequences since it allows for local government to take your property and give it to another private party for economic development, so long as it is viewed as being in the best interests of the community. Sure, there has to be a form of “equitable compensation” to you as the aggrieved homeowner, but as Justice Thomas (who seems to be hitting his stride as a jurist of late) points out in his dissenting opinion:
“The consequences of today’s decision are not difficult to predict, and promise to be harmful. So-called ‘urban renewal’ programs provide some compensation for the properties they take, but no compensation is possible for the subjective value of these lands to the individuals displaced and the indignity inflicted.”
Also, Justice O’Connor makes a great point about how this kind of treatment will disproprotionately benefit those with money and access to the halls of power:
“Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms.”
So be careful out there if you live in an area where “urban renewal” or “community development” might be underway…