I don’t normally do legalblogging, but I’ll keep my eye on this case:
WASHINGTON (CNN) — A fight by homeowners to save their New London, Connecticut, neighborhood from city officials and private developers — an important property rights case with an unusual twist — will reach the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.
At issue is whether governments can forcibly seize homes and businesses, for private economic development. Under a practice known as eminent domain, a person’s property may be condemned and the land converted for a greater “public use.” It has traditionally been employed to eliminate slums, or to build highways, schools or other public works.
The New London case tests the muscle of local and state governments to raise what they see as much-needed revenue, which they argue serves a greater “public purpose.” Legal analysts said they see the case as having major implications nationwide in property rights and redevelopment issues.
I’ll make clearer what the story is trying to say. Eminent domain has been abused in recent years, as a way for politicians and developers to profit at the expense of home- and small business-owners – by way of legally forcing them off their land. Developers get what they want (prime property at cut-rate prices) by force of arms, and government gets what it wants (tax revenue) in exchange.
It’s got to be stopped.