The Knuckleheads of the Day award
Goes to five members of the US Supreme Court, Justices Kennedy, Stevens, Souter, Breyer and Ginsburg for their decision today in Kelo et al v. City of New London.
Yesterday I blogged about how the City of Hollywood Florida condemned property so a developer could use it. Using the law of eminent domain to justify these unconscionable acts. Now the US Supreme Court just ruled 5-4 that the City of New London Conneticut and any other municipality has the right to do that.
This is unspeakable. Our governments now the right to take away anyone's land and home on whatever political whim they wish. This is the a dangerous supreme court decision and legal precedent that can be abused at any time. People are worrying about Roe. Now they should be worried for their homes instead when five liberal justices decide we have no right to them. Unbelievable.
Professor Bainbridge has some good commentary on this decision. The trackback is- http://www.professorbainbridge.com/2005/06/the_government_.html
The whole sickening story can be found at- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050623/ap_on_go_su_co/scotus_seizing_property;_ylt=AlXPY34IiM__TT9lroy5km6s0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ-
By HOPE YEN,
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - A divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses against their will for private development in a decision anxiously awaited in communities where economic growth often is at war with individual property rights.
The 5-4 ruling — assailed by dissenting Justice Sandra Day O'Connor as handing "disproportionate influence and power" to the well-heeled in America — was a defeat for Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex.
They had argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas.
As a result, cities now have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes in order to generate tax revenue.
The case was one of six resolved by justices on Thursday. Still pending at the high court are cases dealing with the constitutionality of government Ten Commandments displays and the liability of Internet file-sharing services for clients' illegal swapping of copyrighted songs and movies. The Supreme Court next meets on Monday.
Writing for the court's majority in Thursday's ruling, Justice John Paul Stevens said local officials, not federal judges, know best in deciding whether a development project will benefit the community. States are within their rights to pass additional laws restricting condemnations if residents are overly burdened, he said.
"The city has carefully formulated an economic development that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including — but by no means limited to — new jobs and increased tax revenue," Stevens wrote in an opinion joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy' David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.
"It is not for the courts to oversee the choice of the boundary line nor to sit in review on the size of a particular project area," he said.
O'Connor, who has often been a key swing vote at the court, issued a stinging dissent, arguing that cities should not have unlimited authority to uproot families, even if they are provided compensation, simply to accommodate wealthy developers.
"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random," she wrote. "The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."
Connecticut residents involved in the lawsuit expressed dismay and pledged to keep fighting.
"It's a little shocking to believe you can lose your home in this country," said resident Bill Von Winkle, who said he would refuse to leave his home, even if bulldozers showed up. "I won't be going anywhere. Not my house. This is definitely not the last word."
Scott Bullock, an attorney for the Institute for Justice representing the families, added: "A narrow majority of the court simply got the law wrong today and our Constitution and country will suffer as a result."