Ten Years On, the Kelo Decision Still Stinks

In case there was ever any doubt that the Supreme Court is composed largely of sophistic blithering idiots with their heads buried deep beneath their black robes, the Kelo decision — which basically gave government carte blanche to steal your property in the service of the State — should have alerted everyone to the danger posed by rule-by-judges. Ilya Somin reflects:


June 23 marks the 10th anniversary of Kelo v. City of New London, when the Supreme Court held in a 5-4 ruling that government could use eminent domain to take private property for “economic development….” At issue in the case were 15 homes, including a little pink house owned by Susette Kelo, in the city of New London, Conn….

But after the court ruled…., those plans fell through. The condemned land remains empty, housing only a few feral cats. The Fifth Amendment allows governments to take private property only for “public use…” The Kelo majority concluded that virtually any potential public benefit qualifies as a “public use”—even if the government cannot prove that the benefit will ever materialize…

Although Kelo was a painful defeat for advocates of property rights, it led to important progress. The ruling generated an enormous backlash…


Yeah, well, great. Conservatives need to keep Kelo in mind whenever they reflexively look to the Supes for either sanity or rationality regarding the great issues of our day.

By the way, here’s who voted for the decision, authored by the wretched John Paul Stevens: Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer — Stevens, Kennedy and Souter were all GOP appointees.


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