Thursday, July 14, 2005

Eminent Domain: Where are the Democrats?

Up until now, the uproar over the Kelo decision has been in the exclusive purview of conservatives, reflecting the court’s ideological split. Yesterday we reported that Conn. Dems were starting to get it and it will be interesting to see who on the left is the first to take up this cause in New York State (not including paid advocates like Norman Siegel, of course). Any candidate for statewide office would be smart to pick it up.

Speaking of which, the Hartford Courant reported on July 6th about a rally in New London attended by hundreds of people “some from as far away as Texas,” who had come to protest the Kelo decision. Most telling is the fact that, “support is also building for a bill proposed late last week that would forbid the use of eminent domain power for economic development projects.”

Also of interest is a Washington Times Op-Ed piece done by three retired justices that looks at the “elitist bent” underlying the Kelo decision. What we liked was the point that was made about how medieval kings used to simply take someone’s property and transfer it to “another” who was in greater favor with the ruler or who offered greater kickbacks.

Building on this analogy, the three judges characterize the SC’s decision thusly:
“the elaborate 20 page majority opinion of the Supreme Court is one of the most eloquent, articulate, intellectual efforts to ever rationalize or try to cerebrally legitimize the forced transfer from the legal, legitimate owner of non-blighted property to someone who is in greater favor with the ruler of the area.”
Anyone who knows anything about development will understand the “greater favor” concept all too well.