Pfizer abandons Kelo site

posted at 4:05 pm on November 9, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Five Supreme Court justices ruled that the seizure of private property from several residents of New London, Connecticut to make way for a new site owned by pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer met the test of “public use” for eminent domain.  A decade after New London took homes away from its citizens to sell the land to a private corporation, Pfizer has decided it doesn’t want the facility after all, adding a fitting coda to a chapter of governmental abuse:

The private homes New London, Conn., took through eminent domain from Suzette Kelo and others, are torn down now, but Pfizer has just announced that it closing up shop at the research facility that led to the condemnation.

Leading drugmakers Pfizer and Wyeth have merged, and as a result, are trimming some jobs. That includes axing the 1,400 jobs at their sparkling new research & development facility in New London, and moving some across the river to Groton.

To lure those jobs to New London a decade ago, the local government promised to demolish the older residential neighborhood adjacent to the land Pfizer was buying for next-to-nothing. Suzette Kelo fought the taking to the Supreme Court, and lost, as five justices said this redvelopment met the constitutional hurdle of “public use.”

Ms. Kelo and many others lost their home, but the land is still undeveloped. Now Pfizer is abandoning the city altogether.

What are the lessons from this debacle?  First, the American system should protect private property from the reach of government as a starting point.  The Kelo decision — which was not a radical departure by any means, but the nadir of a slow trend of hostility towards private property — assumed that the decision about the best use of private property by private entities was better off being made by the government.  That insulted the entire notion of private property and put individual liberty in jeopardy.  Essentially, the Supreme Court endorsed the idea that using eminent domain to transfer property from one private entity to another was entirely legitimate as long as the government in question liked one owner over another.

Think of it as an early endorsement of Barack Obama’s response to Joe the Plumber on redistributionism, only in this case, Kelo and New London stole from the poor and gave to the rich.

And guess what?  New London chose poorly anyway.  Instead of having homeowners on that property, paying taxes and providing stability, the city now has an empty lot and a ton of political baggage.  The biggest lesson is that private owners should have the benefit of deciding for themselves the best private use of their land — primarily to bolster the rule of law and the concept of private property that lies at the heart of our personal liberty, but also because government is a lot more likely to muck it up.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

This whole case has been sad from beginning to end. What a shame.

Cindy Munford on November 9, 2009 at 4:08 PM

But liberals destroyed private property rights. So mission accomplished!

lorien1973 on November 9, 2009 at 4:08 PM

Played out like a Greek tragedy.

Count to 10 on November 9, 2009 at 4:09 PM

Think of it as an early endorsement of Barack Obama’s response to Joe the Plumber on redistributionism, only in this case, Kelo and New London stole from the poor and gave to the rich.

Isn’t this what all government programs do?

C4C made used cars (which poor people buy) more expensive, to give rich people a break on their new car.

Healthcare reform forces poor people to chock up cash to mutli national corporations – or go to jail.

lorien1973 on November 9, 2009 at 4:10 PM

Every one of those people should get their property back, their legal bills paid, and a big hefty apology from the government, followed by the passing of a strict property rights law.

I know…wishful thinking.

CookeyD on November 9, 2009 at 4:10 PM

I only differ with you, Ed, in that I think Kelo was a radical departure. In any case, one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in recent times. I still can’t believe they endorsed this brazen money-grabbing reverse Robin Hood scheme.

jwolf on November 9, 2009 at 4:12 PM

Pharmaceutical companies are among the most beneficent forces in human history, as measured by lives saved and enhanced. They are also reviled by collectivists, who seek to steal their profits and abrogate their patents. It doesn’t help their case that, in this case, Pfizer participated in scheme to steal someone else’s property.

But consistent capitalists are hard to find. Walmart takes a lot of land via eminent domain, too.

BCrago66 on November 9, 2009 at 4:12 PM

When the only curb on the power of the Federal Government, is the Federal Government itself… than it has no limits.

We have had a constant string of Federal Power grabs backed by the Supreme Court, for the last 100 years… they have reinterpreted the clear intent of the Constitution to change it… instead of using the proper process of Amendment.

Our Founders thought that the States and People would have adequate power to stop the coercive power of the Federal Government… but after the advent of the Civil War, the States Power to “vote with their feet” was taken away… and with the Federal Government Supreme Court being the final arbiter of the Powers of the Constitution…

We have a situation where there were THREE parties to the Contract called the Constitution… the People, the States, and the Federal Government… but now ONLY the Federal Government has the power to decide what that Contract says.

Romeo13 on November 9, 2009 at 4:14 PM

Healthcare reform forces poor people to chock up cash to mutli national corporations – or go to jail.

lorien1973 on November 9, 2009 at 4:10 PM

Healthcare: Young people that have not accumulated wealth to the older folks that have.

WashJeff on November 9, 2009 at 4:15 PM

I think that would be fitting. Give them their property back, and replace the house. All of them.

BobMbx on November 9, 2009 at 4:15 PM

My town (New Brighton, MN) did the same thing to a string of unsightly businesses, clearing them out for new development that didn’t materialize. We just got rid of the mayor (who publicly expressed his admiration of the Kelo decision) last week, but we now have a huge swath of empty land, no tax revenues and little prospect for development. And a $100 million bill.

Mr. D on November 9, 2009 at 4:16 PM

But consistent capitalists are hard to find. Walmart takes a lot of land via eminent domain, too.

BCrago66 on November 9, 2009 at 4:12 PM

Any sources for this? Completely unaware of this. So much WalMart bashing and never read this.

clorensen on November 9, 2009 at 4:16 PM

Basically, an absolutely horrible precident set for no good reason whatsoever.
.
RWG (thankyouverymuch and good riddance, Judge Souter)

RWG on November 9, 2009 at 4:16 PM

Yea, but like, it’s never happened before in history, right? Like, never happened before. Otherwise the historians would have told us, ya know? So we can’t draw any conclusions from this one anecdote, ‘cuz anecdotal evidence is, like, ya know, one data point, an you can’t draw a trend line from one point, and , like , ya know you can’t draw any conclusions from something that only happened once. You need thousands and thousands of data points by unbiased observers who have no monetary interest in the results, ya know? Other wise their observations would be tainted by the money paid for them to do the research, ‘n besides where are the statisticians? Until someone has done some high powered statistical analysis we can’t draw any conclusions, and we need more data for that, ya know?

Skandia Recluse on November 9, 2009 at 4:16 PM

But consistent capitalists are hard to find. Walmart takes a lot of land via eminent domain, too.

BCrago66 on November 9, 2009 at 4:12 PM

Neither surprising nor inconsistent. Since the SC legalized these land grabs, any company must seriously consider such opportunities — or be placed in competitive disadvantage with their rivals.

jwolf on November 9, 2009 at 4:17 PM

I retain my State sovereignty objection–the Bill of Rights shouldn’t even apply against the States!

That said, no State should permit such a taking under its constitutional provisions, either. And for SCOTUS to strain the concept of “public use” as far as it did represents yet another reason we should stop listening to the oracles in black robes.

cackcon on November 9, 2009 at 4:17 PM

What a senseless waste.

And a rather shocking and disheartening decision by the Supreme Court.

UltimateBob on November 9, 2009 at 4:18 PM

the “teachable moment”: government rarely uses the “light hand” approach.

search4truth on November 9, 2009 at 4:19 PM

Yea, but like, it’s never happened before in history, right? Like……………………………………………….

I’m sorry, what?

WitchDoctor on November 9, 2009 at 4:20 PM

But consistent capitalists are hard to find. Walmart takes a lot of land via eminent domain, too.

BCrago66 on November 9, 2009 at 4:12 PM

I didn’t know about WalMart, but Donald Trump famously tried to use Eminent Domain in Atlantic City to build a parking garage for one of his casinos.

The homeowner won the case.

UltimateBob on November 9, 2009 at 4:21 PM

Gosh, it’s a good thing those people lost their home, isn’t it?

hawksruleva on November 9, 2009 at 4:21 PM

But consistent capitalists are hard to find. Walmart takes a lot of land via eminent domain, too.

BCrago66 on November 9, 2009 at 4:12 PM

Like where?

hawksruleva on November 9, 2009 at 4:22 PM

The inevitable end of every liberal governmental philosophy, misery and death.

jukin on November 9, 2009 at 4:23 PM

Pretty soon, we’ll be hearing stories like this, from across the nation. But hey! It’s for the greater good, ain’t it?!?

capejasmine on November 9, 2009 at 4:23 PM

I remember liberals were slamming the “Bush Court” for this decision. Even though I pointed out that it was the liberal justices (plus Kennedy as the swing vote) who voted against Kelo and the Conservatives who voted for property rights, they still blamed Bush in their typical bone headed and glib way.

Daemonocracy on November 9, 2009 at 4:24 PM

jukin on November 9, 2009 at 4:23 PM

Yep.

Kelo is the visual confirmation of liberal thought: taking stuff away from people, and giving it to someone else who is more “deserving”

lorien1973 on November 9, 2009 at 4:25 PM

Kelo was a truly horrible decision and reflects poorly on the justices who affirmed it, imho. The citizens of New Haven, CT should vote to purchase the Kelo home funded by the salaries of any serving councilmen who voted to condemn it. Make a museum out of it of eminent domain abuse.

Thank you ij.org.

reginaldL on November 9, 2009 at 4:25 PM

I live in Conn., and have been very familiar with this story for a while, although New London isn’t very close to me. Another eminent domain case in my hometown a few years back still has my head shaking as well tho.

To make a long story short, there was a 100 year-old lumber company in town, within the business district. My town (New Canaan) is a smallish (19,000 pop.), affluent NYC bedroom community, with a town center, and windy back roads around that full of million-dollar homes.

Well, the lumberyard went out of business, and the landowner was selling. An apartment/condo company, Avalon…who already had many developments in surrounding towns, was going to purchase the property, near the railroad station no less, and put up apartments…which was totally within their right to do.

Of course, the town expressed concern over having these apartments within the business district (but not in the center of town) and claimed eminent domain on it.

A long legal battle began…but was settled out of court. The town got to keep the lumberyard property, and Avalon got what was parkland, and allowed to build apartments next door to the low-cost housing units.

End of story. This is about 8 years or so ago…and it’s ironic since the deal, the town has spent millions more aquiring large tracts of land for “open use”…after giving parkland to Avalon.

JetBoy on November 9, 2009 at 4:25 PM

Oops – New London, not New Haven. Honestly, I don’t like Yale.

reginaldL on November 9, 2009 at 4:28 PM

JetBoy on November 9, 2009 at 4:25 PM

And that lumberyard? What happened to it? City just keeps a dead building?

lorien1973 on November 9, 2009 at 4:29 PM

Thank God for the second amendment.

The Rock on November 9, 2009 at 4:30 PM

It ws the Kelo case, decided by an ostensibly conservative court, that was the hand writing on the wall for me. It is why I think the 10th amendment movements in many states are an exercise in futility, the over-broad interpetation of the commerce clause compounded by the now inviobility of stare decisis doom that well meaning effort. Ant attempts at succession will see the same fate under the general welfare clause, which has now effectively over-ridden the rest of thge entirety of the Document known as our former constitution.

We have been tilting at windmills for over 100yrs warning of progressives progressively usurping our rights and liberty’s, to an over-educated, under-informed mass of the indoctrinated politically servile. Only recently have other than a few awoken to perils as they gape into the maw that now seeks to devour all that some, but not enough, held dear.

No matter our protestations, no matter how unjust , no matter how in cotravention to the very reason our country was created, ever since Wickard v. Filburn and our lack of recognition of it portended, our fate I fear has been sealed.

Archimedes on November 9, 2009 at 4:30 PM

And that lumberyard? What happened to it? City just keeps a dead building?

lorien1973 on November 9, 2009 at 4:29 PM

Oops…sorry…heh, The town made it into a parking lot, an ugly one no less… costing about $300/month for a permit. Mainly used for the nearby train station commuters.

JetBoy on November 9, 2009 at 4:31 PM

Shameful from beginning to end.

ted c on November 9, 2009 at 4:31 PM

The lesson I took from Kelo was homeowners should make friends with a guy who knows a guy who works in the field of toxic waste disposal…

fivefeetoffury on November 9, 2009 at 4:32 PM

JetBoy on November 9, 2009 at 4:31 PM

No biggie. Was curious what they did with it.

Detroit (if memory served) wouldn’t let Walmart buy a building downtown cuz it didn’t “fit” and the building(s) they wanted to buy just sit empty. Detroit chose blight over tax revenue.

lorien1973 on November 9, 2009 at 4:33 PM

I for one would never move to Kelo, and would move at the first opportunity. Who knows when the city fathers, in their infinite wisdom, would decide that they want my house and take it for less than it’s market worth.

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 4:34 PM

This whole case has been sad from beginning to end. What a shame.

Cindy Munford on November 9, 2009 at 4:08 PM

Not a shame, more like just desserts.

The city council decided to sc#w over a bunch of homeowners in an effort to chase higher property taxes. Now they end up with neither.

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 4:35 PM

No biggie. Was curious what they did with it.

Detroit (if memory served) wouldn’t let Walmart buy a building downtown cuz it didn’t “fit” and the building(s) they wanted to buy just sit empty. Detroit chose blight over tax revenue.

lorien1973 on November 9, 2009 at 4:33 PM

That’s the exact reason my town gave for claiming eminent domain on that lumberyard property…too close to the shopping district, and it would hurt the “charm and feel” of the New Engand-y vibe.

A couple years later tho, to amend, the town struck a dea with my church, which IS in the center of town, to trade lots. They did, the church parking lot for a lot that had a closed Inn which the town purchased. And the town did what with that land? Sold it to a developer, who put apartments up on it. Ironic.

JetBoy on November 9, 2009 at 4:38 PM

I blame Obama

faraway on November 9, 2009 at 4:39 PM

but after the advent of the Civil War, the States Power to “vote with their feet” was taken away… and with the Federal Government Supreme Court being the final arbiter of the Powers of the Constitution…

We have a situation where there were THREE parties to the Contract called the Constitution… the People, the States, and the Federal Government… but now ONLY the Federal Government has the power to decide what that Contract says.

Romeo13 on November 9, 2009 at 4:14 PM

I’ve taken a lot of heat for declaring that the Civil War gave a fatal wound to the Constitution and the country. The dying has been slow, but it is just about complete.

On another thread, we have a so called conservative declaring that if a crime is heinous enough and if the govt decides there is enough evidence, the govt ought to be able to save the cost of a trial and go straight to the execution phase.

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 4:39 PM

I for one would never move to Kelo, and would move at the first opportunity. Who knows when the city fathers, in their infinite wisdom, would decide that they want my house and take it for less than it’s market worth.

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 4:34 PM

I can tell you for a fact that nobody lives in Kelo, Connecticut.

Proud Rino on November 9, 2009 at 4:40 PM

Detroit chose blight over tax revenue.

Correction. Detroit chose union thug demands over tax revenue.

honsy on November 9, 2009 at 4:40 PM

but also because government is a lot more likely to muck it up.

Is your “F” key malfunctioning?

Mark Jaquith on November 9, 2009 at 4:42 PM

We will take your private property, just because we can.

tballard on November 9, 2009 at 4:43 PM

It ws the Kelo case, decided by an ostensibly conservative court, that was the hand writing on the wall for me.

Archimedes on November 9, 2009 at 4:30 PM

I’m pretty sure that it was the same court that decided that the govt could ignore the plain language of the first ammendment and regulate political speech, so long as the govt was willing to declare that there was a “substantive govt interest in preserving the appearance of a fair election”.

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 4:44 PM

Inalienable right to life, liberty, and property, unless 5 idiots say the last one doesn’t count. How long before they decide liberty isn’t a freedom? Abortion clearly nixes the whole idea of a right to “life.”

The founders would overthrow the idiots in charge today.

TheBlueSite on November 9, 2009 at 4:45 PM

The Kelo decision — which was not a radical departure by any means,

Therein lies the problem.

As long as each decision is not to far from previous decisions, many are willing to live with the results. There are no longer any bright lines beyond which the govt cannot go. Instead we live in a relative world, where no one objects, so long as we don’t loose our liberties too fast.

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 4:45 PM

Dow Chemical did the same thing in Smithfield, RI. Two years later:

Smithfield officials express shock and dismay at the news that Dow Chemical has decided to drop its plans to expand at its site on Douglas Pike and to leave the town altogether. “You could have knocked me off a chair,” was the reaction of Sen. John J. Tassoni, Jr., D-Smithfield and North Smithfield. Tassoni said that even recent discussions with Dow officials provided no hint of the company’s pullout plan, which Dow said was due to market changes. Town Council President Alberto J. LaGreca, Jr., said, “I wonder if they were fair to us in the beginning, whether they had intentions of going forward after what we did.” He was referring to such town concessions as Zoning Board approval of changes in land use sought by Dow when it laid out its plans to create several hundred jobs in the bio-pharmaceutical industry. A so-called tax treaty with the town had allowed Dow certain tax breaks, and LaGreca was unsure whether any provisions in the document provided a penalty for an early withdrawal. He said he would confer with Town Solicitor Edmund L. Alves, Jr.

Pablo on November 9, 2009 at 4:47 PM

I for one would never move to Kelo, and would move at the first opportunity. Who knows when the city fathers, in their infinite wisdom, would decide that they want my house and take it for less than it’s market worth.

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 4:34 PM

No-one within the confines of our borders is safe from immininent domain, a friend of mine’s home and coastal property were confiscated for 2% of market value for a bird sanctuary on the left coast.

It brings to mind Beck’s theory of rebasing our currency/debt on our land and resource value, then turning it over to foreign nationals to satisfy our financial obligations. Far-fetched I know, but 5yrs ago would have believed what are witnessing now?

Archimedes on November 9, 2009 at 4:47 PM

I’m pretty sure that it was the same court that decided that the govt could ignore the plain language of the first ammendment and regulate political speech, so long as the govt was willing to declare that there was a “substantive govt interest in preserving the appearance of a fair election”.

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 4:44 PM

The one and same indeed decided both.

Archimedes on November 9, 2009 at 4:50 PM

I’ve taken a lot of heat for declaring that the Civil War gave a fatal wound to the Constitution and the country. The dying has been slow, but it is just about complete.

On another thread, we have a so called conservative declaring that if a crime is heinous enough and if the govt decides there is enough evidence, the govt ought to be able to save the cost of a trial and go straight to the execution phase.

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 4:39 PM

Not sure the post-Civil War amendments wound was fatal – but certainly critical. My vote for the fatal blow is the Warren Court’s one-man-one-vote ruling. People forget that the Constitution was specifically framed so as not to have a one-man-one-vote democracy. It’s the reason we are where we are with the House and Uncle Barry. Thankfully, the Senate may save the health care situation, but we’re still dead ducks – just a matter of when.

And I think your executioner friend is just frustrated. Can’t say I blame him too much. Wrong answer, but the exasperation is palpable.

ManUFan on November 9, 2009 at 4:55 PM

I can tell you for a fact that nobody lives in Kelo, Connecticut.

Proud Rino on November 9, 2009 at 4:40 PM

One of these days you will make a post that is actually relevant.

Today, alas, is not that day.

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 4:56 PM

Gov’t is doing a bang-up job with those H1N1 vaccines, so why not trust them with my property as well?

Come on in Rahm, need a drink?

omnipotent on November 9, 2009 at 4:56 PM

So, we have to ask…
Can Kelo get her house back?
Noone else wants it…

Haiku Guy on November 9, 2009 at 4:56 PM

The Kelo decision — which was not a radical departure by any means,
Therein lies the problem.

As long as each decision is not to far from previous decisions, many are willing to live with the results. There are no longer any bright lines beyond which the govt cannot go. Instead we live in a relative world, where no one objects, so long as we don’t loose our liberties too fast.

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 4:45 PM

Like I implied of above, the over rigorous application of stare decisis only compounds prior poor decisions. It has become nothing less than a Judicial declaration of infallibilty, while simultaneously failing the very purpose of it’s existence.

Stare decisis=we have deprived of your constitutional rights afore, so we may do so again.

Archimedes on November 9, 2009 at 4:57 PM

Pfail.

Bruce in NH on November 9, 2009 at 4:57 PM

Not sure the post-Civil War amendments wound was fatal –

ManUFan on November 9, 2009 at 4:55 PM

It wasn’t the ammendments, it was the war itself.
It was the war that launched the notion that the federal govt could use the armed forces of the United States to force the states to bend to it’s will. That was the point at which the constitution officially died.

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 4:58 PM

I think it’s poetic justice that the land stealing city lost both the tax revenue from those they forced out of their homes, AND the windfall from Pfizer.

Serves them right.

wildcat84 on November 9, 2009 at 4:58 PM

And I think your executioner friend is just frustrated. Can’t say I blame him too much. Wrong answer, but the exasperation is palpable.

ManUFan on November 9, 2009 at 4:55 PM

I was in that thread as well, pissed would would be a more accurate description. And the “he” was a she BTW.

Archimedes on November 9, 2009 at 4:59 PM

*shakes head*

What did the people who were relocated get out of the deal? I assume they got some cash, but did they get less than the land/homes were worth?

RedNewEnglander on November 9, 2009 at 5:03 PM

But consistent capitalists are hard to find. Walmart takes a lot of land via eminent domain, too.

BCrago66 on November 9, 2009 at 4:12 PM

Any sources for this? Completely unaware of this. So much WalMart bashing and never read this.

clorensen on November 9, 2009 at 4:16 PM

It’s a good thing that K-Mart, Target, Kohls, Sears, Penney’s, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menard’s, etc. never build new stores. Only that nasty Wal-Mart

Jeff from WI on November 9, 2009 at 5:06 PM

It brings to mind Beck’s theory of rebasing our currency/debt on our land and resource value, then turning it over to foreign nationals to satisfy our financial obligations. Far-fetched I know, but 5yrs ago would have believed what are witnessing now?

Archimedes on November 9, 2009 at 4:47 PM

Wasn’t there a RUMOR, repeat RUMOR circulating a few months back that in order to assure the Chinese that we wouldn’t default on our Treasury issues HRC secretly granted them eminent domain protection? Tin foil, I know, but with the way California is going some might think it would be an even trade. /s

singer on November 9, 2009 at 5:08 PM

Frightening–just frightening!

jeanie on November 9, 2009 at 5:09 PM

Damn those Big Pharma companies! I know what I’ll do, I’ll stop taking my meds, that will show them!

Jeff from WI on November 9, 2009 at 5:10 PM

Pretty soon, we’ll be hearing stories like this, from across the nation. But hey! It’s for the greater good, ain’t it?!?

capejasmine on November 9, 2009 at 4:23 PM

“I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.
“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”.

Johan Klaus on November 9, 2009 at 5:11 PM

I for one would never move to Kelo, and would move at the first opportunity. Who knows when the city fathers, in their infinite wisdom, would decide that they want my house and take it for less than it’s market worth.

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 4:34 PM

I can tell you for a fact that nobody lives in Kelo, Connecticut.

Proud Rino on November 9, 2009 at 4:40 PM

One of these days you will make a post that is actually relevant.

Today, alas, is not that day.

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 4:56 PM

It was being pointed out to you that Kelo is a person, not a place.

Did you read the post first, that includes the name of one of the home owners, Suzette Kelo?

Yoop on November 9, 2009 at 5:16 PM

Wasn’t there a RUMOR, repeat RUMOR circulating a few months back that in order to assure the Chinese that we wouldn’t default on our Treasury issues HRC secretly granted them eminent domain protection

singer on November 9, 2009 at 5:08 PM
The msm reports that Hotair said that………….

Johan Klaus on November 9, 2009 at 5:19 PM

It was being pointed out to you that Kelo is a person, not a place.

Did you read the post first, that includes the name of one of the home owners, Suzette Kelo?

Yoop on November 9, 2009 at 5:16 PM

That is one possible interpretation of the RINO’s post, but not the only one.

The problem is instead of trying to make himself clear, he decided to go for the cheap insult.

Had he merely wanted to point out my mistake, he could easily done so, and by the magic of basic logic, he would have made his first ever, relevant post.

He choose to bypass the opportunity. As did you.

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 5:26 PM

Long ago, William Blackstone wrote that “the law of the land … postpone[s] even public necessity to the sacred and inviolable rights of private property.”

The Framers embodied that principle in the Constitution, allowing the government to take property not for “public necessity,” but instead for “public use.” Defying this understanding, the Court replaces the Public Use Clause with a Public Purpose Clause (or perhaps the “Diverse and Always Evolving Needs of Society” Clause), a restriction that is satisfied, the Court instructs, so long as the purpose is “legitimate” and the means “not irrational,”.

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.”

I cannot agree. If such “economic development” takings are for a “public use,” any taking is, and the Court has erased the Public Use Clause from our Constitution, as Justice O’Connor powerfully argues in dissent. I do not believe that this Court can eliminate liberties expressly enumerated in the Constitution and therefore join her dissenting opinion.

Regrettably, however, the Court’s error runs deeper than this. Today’s decision is simply the latest in a string of our cases construing the Public Use Clause to be a virtual nullity, without the slightest nod to its original meaning. In my view, the Public Use Clause, originally understood, is a meaningful limit on the government’s eminent domain power. Our cases have strayed from the Clause’s original meaning, and I would reconsider them.

The Court has elsewhere recognized “the overriding respect for the sanctity of the home that has been embedded in our traditions since the origins of the Republic,” when the issue is only whether the government may search a home. Yet today the Court tells us that we are not to “second-guess the City’s considered judgments,” when the issue is, instead, whether the government may take the infinitely more intrusive step of tearing down petitioners’ homes.

Something has gone seriously awry with this Court’s interpretation of the Constitution. Though citizens are safe from the government in their homes, the homes themselves are not. Once one accepts, as the Court at least nominally does, that the Public Use Clause is a limit on the eminent domain power of the Federal Government and the States, there is no justification for the almost complete deference it grants to legislatures as to what satisfies it.

When faced with a clash of constitutional principle and a line of unreasoned cases wholly divorced from the text, history, and structure of our founding document, we should not hesitate to resolve the tension in favor of the Constitution’s original meaning. For the reasons I have given, and for the reasons given in Justice O’Connor’s dissent, the conflict of principle raised by this boundless use of the eminent domain power should be resolved in petitioners’ favor. I would reverse the judgment of the Connecticut Supreme Court.

–Justice Clarence Thomas

Noel on November 9, 2009 at 5:27 PM

Another case of a Redevelopment Agency torturing the Fifth Amendment. Check to see if your city has an RDA. If so, I guarantee you that there is eminent domain abuse occurring where you live.

pugwriter on November 9, 2009 at 5:31 PM

That is one possible interpretation of the RINO’s post, but not the only one.

The problem is instead of trying to make himself clear, he decided to go for the cheap insult.

Had he merely wanted to point out my mistake, he could easily done so, and by the magic of basic logic, he would have made his first ever, relevant post.

He choose to bypass the opportunity. As did you.

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 5:26 PM

IRONIC LOGIC FAIL…

Yoop on November 9, 2009 at 5:41 PM

Kelo was a truly horrible decision and reflects poorly on the justices who affirmed it, imho. The citizens of New Haven, CT should vote to purchase the Kelo home funded by the salaries of any serving councilmen who voted to condemn it. Make a museum out of it of eminent domain abuse.

Thank you ij.org.

reginaldL on November 9, 2009 at 4:25 PM

Not New Haven, New London.

Better yet, someone should sue Pfizer on behalf of Kelo and all the other expropriated homeowners, and Pfizer should be forced to pay to rebuild their homes as they were, in the same place. You want to build a business, buy an empty lot, and don’t use the government to steal it from others.

This case was disgraceful, and a disgrace to the LIBERAL justices in the majority (the conservatives on the court defended the poor homeowners!). It all went for naught, but it set a precedent that can be cited by future Supreme Courts for future land grabs.

Steve Z on November 9, 2009 at 5:47 PM

Is the New London city council looking at a bad election year?

mojo on November 9, 2009 at 5:47 PM

He choose to bypass the opportunity. As did you.

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 5:26 PM

…and you passed up the opportunity to gracefully admit your mistake.

thomasaur on November 9, 2009 at 5:50 PM

and LaGreca was unsure whether any provisions in the document provided a penalty for an early withdrawal. He said he would confer with Town Solicitor Edmund L. Alves, Jr.

Pablo on November 9, 2009 at 4:47 PM

The devil is in the details. All contracts like that should contain performance clauses.

chemman on November 9, 2009 at 5:57 PM

What are the lessons from this debacle?

The Constitution means nothing to liberals. It’s just an annoyance to their psychotic lust for power.

End of story.

orlandocajun on November 9, 2009 at 6:07 PM

The devil is in the details. All contracts like that should contain performance clauses.

chemman on November 9, 2009 at 5:57 PM

Like when Intel abandoned downtown Austin, leaving a half-built concrete skeleton.

I had no idea that Kelo involved Pfizer in New London. I worked a summer at the Groton plant–my dad was in research there. Small world.

TexasDan on November 9, 2009 at 6:07 PM

“I’m from the government and I’m here to help”.
“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”.

Johan Klaus on November 9, 2009 at 5:11 PM

My response would be that since my trees need fertilizer and you have the ability to act as fertilizer source, I’m delighted you’re from the government and are here to help

chemman on November 9, 2009 at 6:08 PM

It might just be what New London deserves and they should return the property to its’rightful owner.

tim c on November 9, 2009 at 6:13 PM

It’s sort of like this French film where the guy has a dream of building his own restaurant and on opening night Muslim youths chase him around until he has a heart attack and dies.

Beto Ochoa on November 9, 2009 at 6:15 PM

Clorensen:

“Any sources for this? Completely unaware of this. So much WalMart bashing and never read this.”

Utah initially passed a moratorium on the use of eminent domain, but when Wal-Mart wanted some land in Ogden, Senator Bramble introduced a bill to reintroduce eminent domain in a different way – land could be “condemned” if 80% of the people living in the proposed redevelopment site agreed to it. If you are part of the 20% that don’t want to leave, too bad.

By the way, there are some systems of law that did not allow the government to take over land like this. In the Ottoman period, “there [were]…no shortage of cases where government officials themselves were involved in court cases with ordinary citizens and lost them.” In one case, high state officials serving the sultan wanted to take over the pasture land of some villagers to use for the sultan’s court. The villagers sued to keep their land, and won. How primitive.
(See Haim Gerber, State, Society, and Law in Islam: Ottoman Law in Comparative Perspective (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994, p. 40)

dave742 on November 9, 2009 at 6:15 PM

We had a similar situation in Daytona Beach. the city wanted to demolish the old boardwalk and give the property over to a private firm to build a new convention / shopping / resturant / motel complex. They forced families that had run businesses on the boardwalk for more than 50 years to shut down and sell the property. Those that wanted to stay in business now have the privilage of renting space in the new shopping areas. Meanwhile the old boardwalk and bandshell area are semi demolished and waiting for “better times” to resume construction plans.

conservativecaveman on November 9, 2009 at 6:21 PM

I retain my State sovereignty objection–the Bill of Rights shouldn’t even apply against the States!

What part of the Fifth Amendment says it only applies to the national government?

The constitution includes specific prohibitions against states, and others against the national government (usually via the construction: “Congress shall make no law…”) When the Constitution simply says that something won’t happen, and doesn’t specify which level of government won’t do it, it means NONE of them will do it. Neither the several states nor the United States will take property without compensation….

The Monster on November 9, 2009 at 6:25 PM

The founders would overthrow the idiots in charge today.

TheBlueSite on November 9, 2009 at 4:45 PM

How? They at least had the majority of the country with them. If we had the majority with us today, we could vote the bums out. So, as a minority, how do you propose to oppose all the powers of the government, unflattering media, and a majority of the unsympathetic populace?

AnotherOpinion on November 9, 2009 at 6:40 PM

One of these days you will make a post that is actually relevant.

Today, alas, is not that day.

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 4:56 PM

Maybe it’ll be the same day you post something that is factually accurate.

Proud Rino on November 9, 2009 at 6:42 PM

The Monster on November 9, 2009 at 6:25 PM

Geeezzzz… there ya go, actualy reading that dang thing… how last millenium of you.

Romeo13 on November 9, 2009 at 6:45 PM

A fittingly sad end to one of the most disastrous legal debacles in American history.

Dark-Star on November 9, 2009 at 6:47 PM

Another in the long list of government screw ups.

Wade on November 9, 2009 at 6:49 PM

Maybe it’ll be the same day you post something that is factually accurate.

Proud Rino on November 9, 2009 at 6:42 PM

Ouch! Normally that would leave a great mark… ;-)

Yoop on November 9, 2009 at 6:55 PM

I retain my State sovereignty objection–the Bill of Rights shouldn’t even apply against the States!

Everyone was ignoring you the first time because that’s a stupid thing to say.

What part of the Fifth Amendment says it only applies to the national government?

The constitution includes specific prohibitions against states, and others against the national government (usually via the construction: “Congress shall make no law…”) When the Constitution simply says that something won’t happen, and doesn’t specify which level of government won’t do it, it means NONE of them will do it. Neither the several states nor the United States will take property without compensation….

The Monster on November 9, 2009 at 6:25 PM

This is also wrong.

Proud Rino on November 9, 2009 at 7:04 PM

Kelo (eminent domain)is not the only example of ‘taking’ private property either. If you have an endangered species living on all or part of your land, you can be forced to maintain an appropriate habitat for that animal, with no compensation. As another example, if you have a low lying area on your land, it can be declared wetlands and cannot be modified. This also is a taking without compensation. These are federal takings through the EPA.

GnuBreed on November 9, 2009 at 7:19 PM

Not only did Kilo v NewLondon obliterate the 5th Amendment, it made bribing a city official entirely legal.

“If you assist me by working against the best interests of your own citizens I WILL GIVE YOU A TON OF MONEY”.

Its called bribery. And now it is legal.

kurtzz3 on November 9, 2009 at 7:23 PM

Its called bribery. And now it is legal.

kurtzz3 on November 9, 2009 at 7:23 PM

Say what?

We’ve had that going on at the federal level for decades now…’lobbyists’ of all stripes buying our representatives with anything from money to power to the promise of brainwashed voters.

Dark-Star on November 9, 2009 at 7:25 PM

New London loses all that tax money and with their reputation, would another business move there. Now we have established law to deal with every time some city, county or state wants to lure a business to their location.

Kissmygrits on November 9, 2009 at 7:45 PM

Healthcare: Young people that have not accumulated wealth to the older folks that have.

WashJeff on November 9, 2009 at 4:15 PM

OT here, but I just had to respond to this. WashJeff, I’m not trying to pick a fight and I understand you’re probably frustrated. But, I have to let you know, I’m over 50 and feel frustrated too because I’ll also have to pay into this healthcare thing. Inevitably, I will lose my private health insurance. Its not perfect but there are other ways to work on fixing the mess. I would hope that you’ll try to see this from other people’s perspective and not just think that its the young people getting screwed. I will aslo face fines or imprisonment if I don’t cooperate.
Also consider this; I’ve been unwillingly paying into Social Security for over 30 years but I’ll probably never see a dime. My IRA is in the shi**er and my savings $$ will be devalued by hyperinflation.

Just wanted to show you a different twist. Peace.

fullogas on November 9, 2009 at 8:15 PM

Public use. To be used by the masses. The rights of the masses outweigh the rights of the individual.
Isn’t that what our Constitution says?
In fact…the individual does not exist, therefore there is no longer a need for individual liberties. Liberty is in itself an obstacle to be overcome for our own good. The masses are clearly too ignorant and mentally defective to know what’s good for us…for our children.
Witness the numerous votes for the destruction of an important liberty despite their constituents directing them to vote against that destruction…saying that they “voted their conscience”.
I can’t think of a single politician that told the voters, “There may come a time when I will ignore your wishes and vote for what I think is best for you.”
We hired you to flip the burgers. Just do what we tell ya and flip the damned burger. It aint rocket science. We hired you to do what we tells ya…not what you think is right. Consider yourself fired… It’ll just take some time is all.

Army Brat on November 9, 2009 at 9:05 PM

Comment pages: 1 2