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Opening Arguments

After Kelo

If I tried to rank the worst Supreme Court decisions in my lifefime, Kelo v. City of New London, which more or less put the last nail in the coffin of private property, would be right up there. And what came of it? Nothing:

The Supreme Court's 2005 decision in Kelo v. City of New London stands as one of the worst in recent years, handing local governments carte blanche to seize private property in the name of economic development. Now, four years after that decision gave Susette Kelo's land to private developers for a project including a hotel and offices intended to enhance Pfizer Inc.'s nearby corporate facility, the pharmaceutical giant has announced it will close its research and development headquarters in New London, Connecticut.

The aftermath of Kelo is the latest example of the futility of using eminent domain as corporate welfare. While Ms. Kelo and her neighbors lost their homes, the city and the state spent some $78 million to bulldoze private property for high-end condos and other "desirable" elements. Instead, the wrecked and condemned neighborhood still stands vacant, without any of the touted tax benefits or job creation.

At least, as the piece notes, Kelo prompted a backlash resulting in greater limits on eminent domain in 43 states.