To history’s pile of outrageous court decisions Missouri’s Supreme Court just added another whopper.
The town of Arnold, Missouri, had set its sights on an area it wants to redevelop, declared the property “blighted,” and is taking it by force. From residents who don’t want to sell. Residents like Homer Tourkakis.
Tourkakis, a dentist, stood up to fight for his business and his rights.
He thought he had a good case. After all, this land grab is not for a public use, but merely to flip over to private developers
Because of the infamous Kelo decision, he knew that the Fifth Amendment couldn’t help. But he did have the Missouri Constitution. It says government’s “chief purpos” is to secure the individual’s right to “the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry,” and that “private property shall not be taken for private use with or without compensation, unless by consent of the owner.”
But Mr. Tourkakis was saddled with something he didn’t count on: his state’s highest court. The judges one-upped Kelo, ignored the state constitution, and overruled a lower court.
Governments, the court said, have an “unlimited and practically absolute sovereign power of eminent domainâ€ to take our property at their whim.
Tourkakis is fighting the decision. What can he do, after his state’s highest court ruled against him?
He can change the law. He’s working with Missouri Citizens for Property Rights on two voter initiatives. And you can help: Go to 4agoodcause.com.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.