Supreme Court eminent domain dissenter’s predictions coming true

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 This assault on the poor is totally unfair and the Kelo decision needs to be reversed or superseded with local, state, and/or federal laws that prevent this perversion of eminent domain.

8 replies »

  1. Developers are among the, if not thee, lowest forms of life on the planet. They are only here to make a fast buck and could give a fuck about anything else. They see a pristine wilderness and want to destroy it with ugly overpriced cookie-cutter upper-middle-class houses, standing out like a crusty ass rash. They’d build a strip mall over their parents’ graves and use the headstones as speed bumps.

    Fuck them. I find rabid terrorists to be more principled.

  2. From Supreme Court political hacks down to police looking to puff arrest statistics, the poor make convenient targets of opportunity.

  3. What was “eminent domain” for in the first place? What was the justification?

    Curious because a slum up on the hills overlooking Cape Town has seen its value surge unbelievably in the past few years. House rates are calculated on the resale value of the property and these semi-slum houses are now worth millions. Their owners can’t afford the rates.

    You could declare this “unfair” but it’s just as unfair on new owners purchasing and renovating the slum and moving in next door to people who are refusing to pay full rates. The best result is if the poor cash in on their capital gain and move somewhere they can afford.

    I’m not sure if this correlates with “eminent domain” though?

  4. Eminent domain (ED) is the principle that the government has the right to force you off your property, after paying a fair market value, for projects that involve substantial public interest.

    Until the Kelo decision, though, ED was always used for things like roads, bridges, water treatment plants, and the like. It has occasionally been used for stuff like public parks and museums, but that’s pretty rare. Kelo was the first time that private property was taken expressly for the purpose of reselling it to a wealthy developer so that the city of New London could get more tax revenue off the redeveloped land than it did from the prior property’s owners.

  5. Hmmm. Let’s see. Lawyers and laws firms … real estate … securities and investments … the retired … health professionals. The top contributors to politicians since 1990.

    This all sound familiar, Brian?

  6. Nah, not at all, Denny.

    This is the kind of BS the Supreme Court is supposed to protect against, not enable. At least it was 5-4, so its relatively easily overturned.

  7. This is nothing new. Just ask the Native Americans about all the
    great “Treaties” we signed. Back then we used the term
    “Manifest Destiny”. That philosophy was based on the narative
    that ANYTHING we did was OK because GOD wanted us to do it.

    Now for today’s exercise, make the following substitutions:
    Poor = Iraq
    Manifest Destiny = War on Terror
    Land = Oil