SHARE

About a month ago, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of broadening eminent domain rules to include condemning private land for the “public good.” We wrote about KELO at that time.

Now we’re hearing that liberals and conservatives are coming together to fight this very questionable decision on eminent domain:

In Washington, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said his office received more calls from constituents angry about this case than it did for the Supreme Court ruling that limited displays of the Ten Commandments on public property. Cornyn is proposing a bill to bar cities and counties from using federal funds for economic development projects that involve seized property.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., a liberal who rarely supports Republican bills, has signed onto two GOP bills and proposed two of her own. “The people who get hurt are the many poor people and working people who don’t think they can fight City Hall,” she said.

Found at USA Today.

UPDATE: Aug 5, 8:57 a.m.
Lawyers, Guns and Money has a different view of the case and a valid point. Take a look at what those who agree with the KELO decision are saying. LGM also points to Nathan Newman, who reveals what the city of New London actually wanted the land for: a coast guard museum. Ridiculous.

RETRACTION: Aug 5, 3:28 p.m.
I was incorrect is saying that the ruling had a “broadening” effect on eminent domain laws. Cities and towns have used eminent domain for years to condemn land so they can use it for the “public good”. The Supreme Court merely affirmed that the actions in KELO v. New London was constitutional under the 5th Amendment.

  • Michael Farris

    “About a month ago, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of broadening eminent domain rules to include condemning private land for the “public good.â€Â?”

    I thought they simply a) saw no reason to overturn eminent domain as a concept (it’s in the consititution, you’d need an ammendment to overturn it) b) declined to get involved in local disputes over eminent domain and what the “public good” might mean locally (since getting involved would mean a ton of other cases in the future).

    I thinkt this has been an emotional issue and widely misunderstood. They said it’s local government’s job to establish the paramaters of eminent domain locally and now local governments are responding. What’s the problem?

  • http://www.kozoru.com Justin Gardner

    The city broadened the rules. The Supreme Court upheld it. This means a city can condemn an entire area, with a bunch of private residences, not for public works, but for public “good”. True, defining public good is where this gets very tricky, but this precedent is an extremely dangerous one. It sets up a situation where the government can essentially take your home (probably in very poor neighborhoods) and displace you to another area, simply because Pfizer or GE wants to build a plant there.

    To me, that seems really unfair. But hey, that’s just me.

  • Michael Farris

    What kind of ruling would you have preferred? Do you want the Supremes to define the “public good”?

  • http://www.kozoru.com Justin Gardner

    From wikipedia:

    The court found that if an economic project creates new jobs, increases tax and other city revenues, and revitalizes a depressed (even if not blighted) urban area, it qualifies as a public use. The court also found that government delegation of eminent domain power to a private entity was also constitutional as long as the private entity served as the legally authorized agent of the government.

    Of course I don’t want them to define public good, but they recognizing the difference between what that has usually been defined as and what is happening in this case is needed. Personally, I feel this ruling abuses eminent domain and lets the powerful hold sway over the poor. Now we can simply uproot economically depressed areas? How then will we define economically depressed? This slope isn’t just slippery, it’s vertical.

  • http://lefarkins.blogspot.com djw

    Of course I don’t want them to define public good, but they recognizing the difference between what that has usually been defined as and what is happening in this case is needed.

    It’s quite unclear what you think the supreme court should have done. If they were to rule otherwise, they’d have to come up with a general rule or class of activity that was unconstitutional to consider the public good. They’ve never done that before, because the eminent domain rules don’t give them that power. To do so would have been defining the public good.

    Personally, I feel this ruling abuses eminent domain and lets the powerful hold sway over the poor.

    Agreed, a thousand times agreed. Some abuses of power are perfectly constitutional. This is one of them.

    Now we can simply uproot economically depressed areas? How then will we define economically depressed? This slope isn’t just slippery, it’s vertical.

    There’s no “Now.” This decision upheld the status quo. Eminent domain has been used for this purpose many times before. Each case is different, but for the most part I don’t like it either. But we can’t fall down a slope we’re already at the bottom of.

    The court can’t solve all of our problems. Sometimes, we must fight bad policy through more traditional routes. Working to elect non-buffoonish city councils is a good place to start.