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February 22, 2005

PUBLIC TAKING OF PRIVATE PROPERTY FOR PRIVATE PURPOSES: Stephen Bainbridge looks at the Kelo case argued before the Supreme Court today:

The Supreme Court has held that private property can be seized via eminent domain as part of an urban renewal project when the property is blighted, a loophole that local authorities have greatly abused to seize private property. Yet, in this case, the government doesn't even bother trying to hide behind that fig leaf. They assert baldly the power to seize private homes because they think some other user can put them to a higher tax generating use. Except, in this case, they don't even know what the land will be used to do!

As Bainbridge notes, this is no minor technical dispute.