On June 23, 2005, the Supreme Court decided Kelo vs. New London, a case that gave governments nearly unlimited power to exercise eminent domain in an effort to “take” property from one private party and transfer that property to another private party purely based on the fact that the new party would be able to provide the government higher tax revenue. In a couple of vigorous dissents to the 5-4 decision, then Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Justice Clarance Thomas predicted that this ruling would lead to property being taken from the poor and given to the wealthy.
And now it looks like that prediction has become true. Two reporters from the Worcester Telegram and Gazette News report today that an analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s data bears out this prediction. Specifically, “although the data do not show that local officials and developers target specific areas because residents are lower-income, minority or less-educated, the fact remains that the awesome power of eminent domain is disproportionately trained on them.”
Check out the story – the numbers aren’t pretty. This assault on the poor is totally unfair and the Kelo decision needs to be reversed or superseded with local, state, and/or federal laws that prevent this perversion of eminent domain.