Kiss Private Property Rights Goodbye

Note: This is my second post today. Scroll down to read the first one.


The Supreme Court usurped the rights of private property owners yesterday when it ruled cities may now seize private property and give it to other private individuals. Eminent domain now means the government can seize your property for things other than roads, schools, parks or other true public use projects. Kudos to Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Clarence Thomas in their dissents (links to PDF) yesterday in KELO ET AL. v. CITY OF NEW LONDON.

O'Connor writes (emphasis mine):

Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded -- i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more bene­ficial to the public -- in the process.

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.

Thomas writes (emphasis mine):

This defer­ential shift in phraseology enables the Court to hold, against all common sense, that a costly urban-renewal project whose stated purpose is a vague promise of new jobs and increased tax revenue, but which is also suspiciously agreeable to the Pfizer Corporation, is for a "public use."

For those who own property, enjoy it while you can. Because if a business or developer can convince your local government that he can use your property better than you do, the city can take it from you and give it to the business or developer.

It's time to start kissing your right to property goodbye.