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Opening the Floodgates: Eminent Domain Abuse In the Post-Kelo World

Opening the Floodgates: Eminent Domain Abuse In the Post-Kelo World

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On June 23, 2005, in the now infamous Kelo v. City of New London decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the U.S. Constitution allows government to use eminent domain to take and bulldoze existing homes and businesses to make way
for new private commercial development. The mere possibility that a different private development could produce more taxes or jobs is a good enough reason for condemnation, according to the Court. Municipal officials hailed the decision,
while the rest of the nation reacted with shock and outrage.

The Kelo decision opened the floodgates of abuse, spurring local governments to press forward with more than 117 projects involving the use of eminent domain for private development. Since the decision was handed down, local governments threatened eminent domain or condemned at least 5,783 homes, businesses, churches, and other properties so that they could be transferred to another private party. Before the Supreme Court’s decision, cities already regularly abused the power of eminent domain. But Kelo has indeed become the green light that Justice O’Connor and Justice Thomas warned of in their dissents. The decision emboldened officials and developers, who started new projects, moved existing ones forward, and, especially, threatened and filed condemnation actions. Courts, too, relied on Kelo in upholding projects that took the property of one private party only to turn around and give it to another. Sadly, the decision profoundly discouraged many owners who wanted to fight the loss of their home or business but believed, after Kelo, it would be hopeless to fight.
On June 23, 2005, in the now infamous Kelo v. City of New London decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the U.S. Constitution allows government to use eminent domain to take and bulldoze existing homes and businesses to make way
for new private commercial development. The mere possibility that a different private development could produce more taxes or jobs is a good enough reason for condemnation, according to the Court. Municipal officials hailed the decision,
while the rest of the nation reacted with shock and outrage.

The Kelo decision opened the floodgates of abuse, spurring local governments to press forward with more than 117 projects involving the use of eminent domain for private development. Since the decision was handed down, local governments threatened eminent domain or condemned at least 5,783 homes, businesses, churches, and other properties so that they could be transferred to another private party. Before the Supreme Court’s decision, cities already regularly abused the power of eminent domain. But Kelo has indeed become the green light that Justice O’Connor and Justice Thomas warned of in their dissents. The decision emboldened officials and developers, who started new projects, moved existing ones forward, and, especially, threatened and filed condemnation actions. Courts, too, relied on Kelo in upholding projects that took the property of one private party only to turn around and give it to another. Sadly, the decision profoundly discouraged many owners who wanted to fight the loss of their home or business but believed, after Kelo, it would be hopeless to fight.

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: Institute for Justice on Feb 02, 2011
Copyright:Attribution No Derivatives

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02/02/2011

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Emiet Domai Abuse I the Post-
Kelo 
Wod
the
 
OpeningFlOOdgateS
DAnA BErlInEr
 
Opening the FlOOdgates
 
Emiet Domai Abse I the Post-
Kelo 
Wod
the
 
OpeningFlOOdgateS
DAnA BErlInErJunE 2006
 
© 2006 Institute or JusticeAll rights reserved.
Ackowedgmets
Collecting this inormation took an enormousamount o work rom everyone at the Instituteor Justice. Property owners and attorneysthroughout the country also contributedinormation and photographs. Thank you especially to John Ross; without hispersistence and devotion, this project wouldnot have been possible. Thank you also toIsaac Reese, who laid out this report and many o our other eminent domain publications,and Tim Keller, who careully reviewed thisentire report.
The Castle Coalition is a project o the Institute or Justice.

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