How ironic it is that, as Kyle Drennen noted today at NewsBusters, that NBC's David Gregory was so vocal in advocating that "Government Playing a Bigger Role" in the economy, given that yesterday was the eighth anniversary of the Kelo vs. New London decision, a monument to colossal government failure if there ever was one.
A 5-4 Supreme Court majority, believing that the Connecticut city of New London had "carefully formulated a development plan ... (with) appreciable benefits to the community," violated the plain language of the "public use" clause of the Constitution's Fifth Amendment which was clearly designed to limit government eminent-domain takings to true public projects (e.g., roads, bridges, etc.). They instead decided that "public use" really means "public purpose" (i.e., anything the government wants to do, including condemning property so that it can be transferred from current to new owners in the name of some higher good).
Almost eight years after the Supreme Court's odious Kelo v. New London ruling and eight years of press failure to report the utter lack of subsequent development in the affected area in New London, Connecticut, construction might start taking place in a couple of months -- emphasis on "may."
What's notable about how Kathleen Edgecomb at the New London Day wrote up her Sunday story is how hard she worked, as the Day has since the Court's ruling, to make sure that the term "Kelo" did not appear. That's "Kelo" as in Susette Kelo, the lead plaintiff who tried to keep her pink house where it was and save the properties of other plaintiffs from destruction as a result of eminent domain, and who was ultimately thwarted by a Supreme Court ruling which radically misinterpreted the Constitution's Fifth Amendment to to allow goverments to take properties for "public purpose" (i.e., any conceivable reason) instead of limiting such seizures to "public use" (e.g., roads, bridges, and other public works). Excerpts from her Edgecomb's report, including the relevant word-dodging, follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Daryl Justin Finizio, the recently elected Democratic Party Mayor of New London, Connecticut has apologized to the families and homeowners who lost their homes as a result of the city's decision to condemn properties in the Fort Trumbull area of that city. Those efforts began over a decade ago. A lawsuit by the victims which attempted to stop the city from taking their properties and destroying their homes ultimately led to the Supreme Court's Kelo vs. New London decision in 2005. The Court ruled in favor of the City based on what it believed was "a carefully considered development plan." A few remaining holdouts who tried to get the city to reverse course after the ruling, including Susette Kelo, lost their battle and settled with the city in 2006. To my knowledge, no ground has been broken on any kind of new development in the area originally occupied by the homes in the 5-1/2 years since.
Obviously, one could argue that the apology is way too late, given that the buildings have long since been leveled.
In June 2005, in its Kelo vs. New London decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the City of New London, Connecticut could condemn and take over private property, including that on which Susette Kelo's pink house sat, for a "public purpose" (a redevelopment plan worked up by the city's New London Development Corporation), instead of limiting the Constitution's Fifth Amendment application to "public use," as the Founders intended.
The Supreme Court justices who supported the ruling largely justified it on the basis that "The City has carefully formulated an economic development plan that it (the city) believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including–but by no means limited to–new jobs and increased tax revenue." Carefully formulated or not, nothing even remotely positive happened after the ruling until very recently, and nothing even remotely resembling decent national media coverage of post-ruling events has ever occurred.
In its infamous June 2005 Kelo vs. New London ruling, a Supreme Court majority allowed the city of New London to seize the properties of holdout homeowners in that city's Fort Trumbull area for the "public purpose" of economic development, not a "public use" as the Constitution's Fifth Amendment requires.
It has been eleven years since the litigation began, six years since the court's ruling, and almost five years since the final settlement between the City and final holdouts the Cristofaro family and Susette Kelo, whose former home now stands elsewhere as a de facto monument to the perils of overbearing government. The land involved is still vacant, and nothing of substance has since happened. In late 2009, Pfizer, the economic linchpin which supposedly drove the city's need to remake the area, announced that it was pulling out of New London.
After several false starts, the city is working with a new developer. As of February of last year, this developer wanted to put rental townhouses in an area where century-old, largely owner-occupied homes once stood.
Early Friday, the New London Day's Kathleen Edgecomb reported a new twist. Wait until you see what the developer wants before going forward.