The sad story of Kelo v. The City of New London keeps dragging on, adding coda to epilogue, epilogue to coda.
Recently, Jeff Benedict, the author of Little Pink House, gave a talk attended by both Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Richard N. Palmer and Suzette Kelo. Afterwards, chatting with Ms. Kelo, Benedict was approached by Justice Palmer, who shocked the journalist with an admission: “Had I known all of what you just told us, I would have voted differently.”
The judge then turned to Ms. Kelo to say how sorry he was.
The judge, who had voted in the majority against the New London homeowner, was not recanting the decision, as such, but instead merely admitting that the facts as they developed in the case put the New London redevelopment project in a different light. And his apology? Not for the decision, but simply for Ms. Kelo’s suffering.
The real something in the case is what happened to New London’s Fort Trumbull site after Pfizer pulled out of the development. Most recently it has been turned into a dumping ground for branches, hedge clippings, broken limbs from storms, and the like. As one property rights watchdog put it:
Connecticut taxpayers have thus been soaked tens of millions of dollars, not just for nothing, but for making things worse. . . .
Much worse. Property rights were undermined. Judges felt compelled by practice and precedent to defend whimsical, frivolous takings powers against the just property rights of citizens.
We’re all sorry, now. But protecting property rights against abuse by government would mean never having to say we’re sorry, later.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.