Stopping the Land-Grabs
A little over 20 years ago, over a thousand homes — and quite a few businesses and churches — in Detroit’s Poletown neighborhood were bulldozed. The government kicked out the people so that General Motors could build a new plant.
Today, in New London, Connecticut, officials want to take the property of homeowners and businesses in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood, raze it and lease it to a private developer for 99 years for a dollar per year. Eminent domain was designed to allow governments to take property for roads and such. Not to take from some and give to richer others. But things have got bad here in the ol’ USA.
But wait. In late July, the Michigan Supreme Court reversed its Poletown decision. Now the court says that the original decision was a “radical departure from fundamental constitutional principles.” Similar projects all around Michigan are being called to a halt. And according to Greg Kaza, writing in Liberty magazine, it’s not just in Michigan. “Governments across the United States have cited Poletown to justify their own takings of private property. They will no longer be able to rely on Poletown now,” he wrote.
Even more exciting, a few days ago the U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear Kelo v. City of New London, a case that the Institute for Justice has taken on to stop the New London land-grab. According to the Institute, between 1998 and 2002 eminent domain threatened ten thousand properties . . . for use by other private parties. But now there’s hope that these land-grabs will stop.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.