The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the city of New London, CT in a case regarding property rights. In a close 5-4 vote, the Court ruled that cities can use Eminent Domain to seize private property to use for private development.
A few pertinent bits from the AP article:
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.
Local officials, not federal judges, know best in deciding whether a development project will benefit the community, justices said.
At issue was the scope of the Fifth Amendment, which allows governments to take private property through eminent domain if the land is for "public use."
Susette Kelo and several other homeowners in a working-class neighborhood in New London, Conn., filed suit after city officials announced plans to raze their homes for a riverfront hotel, health club and offices.
New London officials countered that the private development plans served a public purpose of boosting economic growth that outweighed the homeowners' property rights, even if the area wasn't blighted.
Isn't that great? Say good bye to your right to private property. This blows the door WIDE OPEN for the government to seize your property on the most specious and arbitrary of pretenses. And it means that if a business wants your land, all they have to do is convince the local city council that letting them have it will "benefit the economy", and hey! Presto! They can have it seized, and the government gets to decide how m,uch you get paid for your property.
Thomas Jefferson must be doing 50,000 RPM's in his grave right now. This is disgusting. When you manage to anger the folks at Democratic Underground AND Protest Warrior all in one fell swoop, you have truly and impressively screwed the pooch.
This is disgusting. It's angering, and it's frightening. I'm trying to avoid hyperbole here, but when I tried to think back to another SCOTUS decision that seemed to my mind as bad, the words "Dred Scott" came to mind and refuse to go away.
I'm looking forward to reading the opinions of the dissenters. There's some real anger over this, if the comments in the blogosphere are an indication:
Ranting Right Wing Howler
The Limburg Letter Who wins the prize for the pest quote: 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.
He also does the best job of highlighting the fact that it was the liberal wing of SCOTUS who just legalized the rights rape of small property owners at the hands of big business.
I'm livid. And the more I think about it, the more livid I get. TFR and I dream constantly of the day when we can save up the money, rebuild our credit, and buy a home. Thanks to the Supreme Court, if and when that dream comes true, all it would take is the whim of a local city council to wake us from that dream into a nightmare.
Professor Bainbridge has posted an excellent rant AND a copy of Justice O'Connor's dissent
"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random," 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."
That woman can write.
Russell over at Mean Mr. Mustard quickly and succincttly puts paid to the "Just Price" myth.