The Supremes Speak

There goes the neighborhood.

I wonder what our human settlement pattern folks will have to say about this decision.

Writing for the court, Justice John Paul Stevens said local officials, not federal judges, know best in deciding whether a development project will benefit the community.

Update Round-up

: James Young and Rick Sincere have posts on their blogs and have commented here; One Man’s Trash and Commonwealth Conservative have also posted on this decision. This 5-4 ruling is, how shall we say it, not being well-received.

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  1. Rick Sincere Avatar
    Rick Sincere

    Under this decision, nobody’s property is safe — unless and until state constitutions explicitly outlaw using eminent domain for anything other than public use as properly understood (i.e., for schools, parks, and highways, not for private commercial developments).

    A sad day in American constitutional history.

  2. James Young Avatar
    James Young

    I absolutely agree. If we don’t see a change in the personnel on the Court soon, this country is doomed. Even O’Connor managed to get this right (along with Rehnquist, Thomas, and Scalia). For all of the far Left breast-beating about “fascism,” it is this type of decision and practice which seems closer to the real thing than anything this Administration has tried to do.

  3. TheModerate Avatar

    I agree, a sad day indeed.

    It would seem that a developer could sue anytime a “project” was denied at any level of the development process, especially if the land is zoned for a particular use, site this case, and likely win based on this decision!

    A quote from O’Conner in 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.”

  4. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    I find it interesting that the “liberal” judges would find in the favor of a measure that will be used to advance the interests of big developers against those of small property owners, often of very limited means. Sandra Day O’Connor (as quoted by theModerate) got it absolutely right: “The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process.”

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Every local government leader who would like to ensure no “poor” people live in their neighborhood just got their wish. It won’t take long before govt’s force the sale of the “affordable housing” to the McMansion builders.

    I wonder how this will play out in TABOR-like localities where there are restrictions of the rise of property values and the associated tax revenue? Now those governments that “perceive” themselves as strapped for cash can force anyone to sell, it seems. Perhaps someone well-versed in tax-caps could address that. Wouldn’t properties in California be ripe for the picking for developers?

  6. James Young Avatar
    James Young

    It’s “interesting,” indeed, but only surprising if you don’t recall that pro-business types are nearly as apt to use the power of government to achieve their goals as the more traditional — and sometimes honest — socialists. I don’t know whether it’s a function of attempting to ameliorate the invasiveness of government, or a more short-term and base motivation. But there’s a long history of those who should favor laissez-faire invoking the same tactics as those who more forthrightly approach the government with their hands out. Business in Nazi Germany come to mind, as does Armand Hammer.

  7. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    I think this decision is thouroughly wrong. given the degree to which is is not being “received well” my feelings on th matter are mild compared to the comments posted here.

    One good thing is that at last government no longer has an excuse for not seizing the sorry collection of 1020’s junk that passes for the Marshall, VA water supply. “for the public good”.

  8. Ray Hyde Avatar
    Ray Hyde

    Jim, your argument is valid, I think, but so twisted that I’m not sure I understand.

    Ont the one hand goavernment is free to take over properties where they think they can get higher tax revenues, on the other hand, they are now free to argue that development can be prohibited in areas where the tax cost exceeds the development benefit.

    Since far more of the country is undeveloped than developed, I should think you would accept this as a great victory.

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    I have no idea what the fuss is about. Republicans were once about capitalism, industrialism and progress, now they seem to want to live in caves and work for the government or some special interest group. Pave it all and let’s put up a factory!

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