Thursday, June 23, 2005

Individual's Rights Have Taken a Major Hit

Supreme Court Rules Cities May Seize Homes: "WASHINGTON -- A divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses against their will for private development in a decision anxiously awaited in communities where economic growth often is at war with individual property rights.
The 5-4 ruling represented a defeat for some Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas.
As a result, cities now have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes in order to generate tax revenue.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has been a key swing vote on many cases before the court, issued a stinging dissent. She argued that cities should not have unlimited authority to uproot families, even if they are provided compensation, simply to accommodate wealthy developers."

I have no dog in this particular fight since I very much doubt that my local government has any plans at present for the use of my property. What is at stake is that local governments are often swayed by the people with money to fund their campaigns for election no matter what their party affiliation may be. I doubt very much that business developers select property in the more affluent areas of homes but rather the modest properties owned by families who have spent their lives investing their funds to provide a comfortable home for their families. To me, this is just not fair.


  1. Pat, you do have a dog in this fight, whether you own property or not.

  2. Mike, you are dead on right about that. There is a family a few miles away that is in danger of losing their land to the city.