Thursday, June 23, 2005

Sorry, we need to bulldoze your home to build a Home Depot

From The Washington Post:

The Supreme Court ruled today that cities can claim private homes under eminent domain in the name of economic development:

Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the majority, said New London could pursue private development under the Fifth Amendment, which allows governments to take private property if the land is for public use, since the project the city has in mind promises to bring more jobs and revenue.

"Promoting economic development is a traditional and long accepted function of government," Stevens wrote, adding that local officials are better positioned than federal judges to decide what's best for a community.

In dissent, [Justice Sandra Day] O'Connor criticized the majority for abandoning the conservative principle of individual property rights and handing "disproportionate influence and power" to the well-heeled.

"The specter of condemnation hangs over all property," O'Connor wrote. "Nothing is to prevent the state from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory."

Couldn't have said it better myself. O'Connor's dissent also noted that of the parcels in question,
"Parcel 4A is slated, mysteriously, for " 'park support.' " Id., at 345-346. At oral argument, counsel for respondents conceded the vagueness of this proposed use, and offered that the parcel might eventually be used for parking..."

Given the cozy relationships between corporations, developers and city governments, it wouldn't appear to take much "leaning" to get a city to do a major company's bidding - after all, that already happens now. As the homeowners' petition stated, if the Supreme Court ruled in their favor, the sky would not fall. But if the Court ruled in favor of New London, the floodgates would open. Maybe that lady in Atlantic City whose home is surrounded by one of Donald Trump's casinos should start packing. Tonight


Post a Comment

<< Home