...and the Repub 5 won. So now nobody REALLY owns property if the powers
that be decide they want it for some damned developer who is gonna make some
money for them. This is outrageous! Read on:
US Supreme Court Rules on Property Seizures
By Jim Malone Washington23 June 2005
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a major ruling Thursday on the power of the
government to seize private property for economic development projects.
A sharply divided high court ruled by a vote of five to four that local governments
do have the right to seize private property against the will of the owner if it leads
to economic development that benefits the community.
The decision is expected to give local governments around the country more
power to seize homes and businesses for economic growth projects such as
shopping malls and hotels that would spur economic development and generate
greater tax revenues.
The case stemmed from a dispute in New London, Connecticut, where some
local homeowners had filed suit to block the city from seizing their property
to build a riverfront hotel and other businesses.
Wesley Horton is an attorney for the city of New London. He says the Supreme
Court ruling will be a boon to spurring economic development in cities around
"Otherwise, all you can do is go into blighted areas, which means you are picking
on the poor people, the minority people and this means that economic
development can go where it is best to go," he said.
Bill Von Winkle is one of the New London homeowners fighting to block seizure
of his property. He says he will not give up and will refuse to leave his home.
"This is bad for the country. Any home, any business can be taken," he said.
Writing for the court majority, Justice John Paul Stevens supported the right
of the city to seize property and said local officials know best about which
economic development projects will benefit their community.
Writing for the minority side, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor countered that cities
should not have unlimited power to uproot families and that the main
beneficiaries of the ruling will be wealthy developers and corporations who back
the development projects.
The decision takes into account the U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment,
which allows local governments to seize land for public use.
A public interest law firm representing the homeowners said that more than
10,000 properties have been threatened with government seizure over the
past few years.