Thursday, June 23, 2005

High court endorses eviction of homeowners

In the Supreme Court's decision to allow private developers to apply, in a twisted manner, the government's fifth amendment right of eminent domain to take away people's homes for vital public interests, Justice Sandra Day O'Conner dissented:

"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private property, 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.

"As for the victims," Justice O'Connor went on, "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."

Urban planner, Moshe Adler, argued ("When Pfizer Came to New London:
Corporate Giveaway vs. Eminent Domain,", March 5 / 6, 2005):
The argument is leading the Court astray, however. It forces the Supreme Court to choose between the rights of people to live in their homes and the ability of government to pursue policy in the public interest, whereas the real issue is whether corporations should be allowed to play one jurisdiction against another in order to extract large giveaways.

In 2004 this question was examined by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, which ruled that the city of Toledo, Ohio, could not offer Daimler-Benz tax subsidies to locate there. The court banned giveaways because they interfere with interstate commerce. Had this ruling been upheld everywhere, the Fort Trumbull issue would never have arisen. If Pfizer wanted a particular property, in New London or anywhere else, it would have had to find willing sellers.


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