In Dicta

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Kelo hurts the poor the most

The Washington Post today runs a story titled "Court Ruling Leaves Poor at Greatest Risk." Excerpt:

"Where does that leave you if your local government sees potential for a higher and better use for your home and land? What if you, like the New London homeowners, don't want to give up your home no matter what you're offered?

In brief: The court's decision leaves you in a weaker position, at least under federal law, than you might imagine. The majority of justices on the current court appear to be saying that "public purposes" may be discernible in a wide variety of private projects. If, for example, your city's political leaders decided that all the houses on your street would produce higher tax revenue as a regional shopping center, they are now in a stronger position to seize your house under the court's Kelo doctrine.

As a practical matter, who's really at greater risk of such seizures? Surely not homeowners in the wealthier parts of town, who have the ears of, if not control of, the local political establishment."

Hat tip: The Volokh Conspiracy.


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