Eminent Domain...abuse or progress

The New York Times (NYT) reports in a July 30 story on the intense reaction to the 6/23/05 Supreme Court decision, Kelo v. City of New London, Connecticut, which acknowledges the right of governments to seize a person's property and sell it to another party for development in the name of public interest. The Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) has called the decision disastrous. According to the NYT story, both California and Texas have proposed constitutional amendments to limit property seizure by government, with at least a dozen other states and cities considering similar changes.

The PLF which helped draft constitutional language for the proposed California amendment writes, "The amendment would be one of the strongest bans on eminent domain abuse in the nation. PLF attorneys stand ready to help lawmakers nationwide to craft language to protect against eminent domain abuse." They further say, "only our state constitutions can protect us from having our land taken away and given to private groups with more political influence."

NYT reports that some cities view the Kelo decision favorably. Cities are claiming eminent domain to seize homes, businesses and vacant lots to sell to developers for shopping centers and condominium projects. They feel eminent domain used judiciously is a tool for revitalization and urban renewal.


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