Start your engines
Joel and Rachel are getting set to take off about three hours from now. A safe journey home to Salinas for them...
Poletown Neighborhood Council v. City of Detroit
Kristina Dalman (attorney from Chicago) on the Kelo case: excerpt from an article in the Brownfield News .
CATO Institute: “Robin Hood in Reverse: The Case against Economic Development Takings”
by Ilya Somin
Written just prior to the Supreme Court Kelo decision, I appreciate the CATO/libertarian perspective on this issue. I’m not done reading the 24 page document but so far it has proved very informative.
“Both the Fifth Amendment to the federal Constitution and nearly all state constitutions contain a ‘public use clause.’ By implication, such clauses prohibit government from taking private property, even when compensation is paid to the owner, except for a ‘public use.’ But for some time the U.S. Supreme Court and many state courts have allowed that restriction on the condemnation power to atrophy.”
“For more than 20 years, Poletown stood as both the most infamous symbol of eminent domain abuse and a precedent justifying nearly unlimited power to condemn private property. As one scholar of the subject put it, ‘To many observers of differing political viewpoints, the Poletown case was a poster child for excessive condemnation.’ Poletown held that condemnations transferring property from one private party to another satisfied the ‘public use’ requirement even if the only claimed public benefit was that of “bolster-[ing] the economy.” While it was not the first decision upholding so-called ‘economic development’ takings, Poletown was by far the most widely publicized and notorious. Its notoriety stemmed from the massive scale and seeming callousness of Detroit’s use of eminent domain: destroying an entire neighborhood and condemning the homes of 4,200 people, as well as numerous businesses, churches, and schools, so the land could be transferred to General Motors for the construction of a new factory. Aside from the moral and humanitarian concerns at issue, Poletown raised the fear that if ‘economic development’ could justify such massive dislocation, it could be used to rationalize almost any condemnation that benefited a private business in a way that might ‘bolster the economy.’”