Friday, June 24, 2005

The Little Guy Gets Hit, Yet Again...

For most people, Supreme Court decisions are a yawn, a minor blip in the day, if that. Yesterday's decision in Kelo v. City of New London was different in that, potentially, every homeowner who is not wealthy and politically well-connected could be faced with losing his or her home if developers with an economic development scheme manage to convince local officials to back their plans. The citizens of the town of New London who refused to give up their homes have lost this round, as they have refused "just compensation" for their homes. (I have a sinking feeling that the proposed compensation was not in the ballpark of fair market value, but I quibble.)

Attorney Andrew Cohen of CBS News said that the ruling "practically invited citizens who don't want to see this land-grab happen again to change their laws in order to prevent"(it). Hmm... officials are rejoicing at the ruling [free regi. req'd], as it will facilitate its plans for a new baseball stadium, which currently require that some homes and businesses in part of SE be destroyed to make way, all for a "public purpose," not merely a pesky "public use" that you were taught in civics class was necessary for government to seize homeowner land, that inconvenient concept of eminent domain.

Scott G. Bullock, an attorney for the organization that represented the New London homeowners, the Institute of Justice, said that the fight against eminent domain abuse would continue in the state supreme courts, as the decision does confirm that states can decide, and restrict, just what constitutes a "public purpose."

This ruling suddenly made me wonder how the development at the National Harbor in Oxon Hill would be affected, if at all. Could some Prince George's homeowners in that area be "asked" to leave in the name of economic development?

* * * * * *
It's that season. Yes, good old summertime is also prime crime time [free regi. req'd]. Be careful out there, and look out for your neighbors as well.

No comments: