Eminent Domain


In many ways Kelo v. City of New London reminds me of Bush v. Gore. In both cases the court reversed its ideological course in order to serve the interests of those in power. The concept of takings was useful as long as it could be used to attack the government regulatory apparatus. This, of course, favored the interests of developers. However, when the interests of the developers requires the state to have the right to engage in takings” then principles don’t much matter any more. This is similar to how states rights” were thrown out the window in Bush v. Gore.

Here is a quote from Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s dissent:

Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms. As for the victims, the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more. The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result.


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