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Kelo Day

Posted by Richard on June 23, 2008

Kelo Day - June 23, 2008

Three years ago today, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the city of New London, Connecticut, could seize the home of Susette Kelo and turn it over to a private developer. A public purpose — more tax revenue — is the same thing as a public use, according to the liberal majority. It was one of the most egregious decisions of my lifetime. But there was a silver lining, according to the Institute for Justice, which represented Ms. Kelo:

The Kelo case sparked a nationwide backlash against eminent domain abuse.  Since that ruling:

  • 42 states have passed either constitutional amendments or legislation that provide greater protections for property owners facing eminent domain abuse.
  • Two state supreme courts have rejected the ruling while four others have said they are likely do so in a future case.
  • Property owners and community activists have stopped 23 projects throughout the country that abused eminent domain for private development.

 Ironically — fittingly, I'd argue — the land seized by New London still sits vacant three years later:

“New London’s Fort Trumbull project has been an unmitigated disaster,” said IJ Senior Attorney Dana Berliner, who litigated the Kelo case with Bullock.  “Despite the infusion of close to $80 million in taxpayer funds and three years elapsing since the Kelo decision, there has been no new construction in the area and nothing to show but brown, empty fields.  The developer was so desperate for funding that it applied to the federal Housing and Urban Development agency to obtain taxpayer-subsidized loans to build luxury apartments on the land where Susette’s neighborhood once stood.”

Today, Kelo Day, please make a donation to the Institute for Justice to commemorate this shameful event (the secure donation page is here ). Even a small donation — $5, $10, $25 — makes you a member of the Susette Kelo Liberty Club. If you can afford more, of course, please be generous. IJ and its Castle Coalition project are fighting eminent domain abuse all over the country every day. 

Here's a short (1:34) message from Susette Kelo herself:

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