Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Hello Kelo

In June, I posted some comments about the Supreme Court's opinion in Kelo v. New London. In general, I thought that Kelo was a sensible decision. Of course, while I believe that it is appropriate to use the condemnation power to advance public planning goals, like all public power, I recognize that the condemnation power can be applied corruptly.

Kelo has been the subject of fairly broad criticism from both sides of the political spectrum. However, the damage caused by Katrina will trigger the application of the principles of Kelo on a scale not contemplated in June. No doubt, there will be situations where those principles are used to enrich those with political connections rather than to advance the public interest. (There have already been blog comments on this issue, generally expressing fears that Kelo will be used to dispossess African-Americans and the poor. See here, here, and here.) However, the reconstruction of New Orleans in any rational way is unthinkable without the power of condemnation. And Kelo.

4 comments:

Joel S. said...

"However, the reconstruction of New Orleans in any rational way is unthinkable without the power of condemnation. And Kelo."

I don't think anyone would disagree with your first sentence, but I (and lots of other people) would disagree strongly with your second. For instance, taking someone's home in order to strengthen the levees? Sounds fine. Taking someone's home and giving it to a developer so that he can throw up a Bennigan's, thereby increasing the tax base? No, thanks.

Anonymous said...

So lets see-your position re the 5th amendment and public use is-government has the right to take property for the use of the government (ie. higher property taxes), not the public. WOW-sounds socialistic to me. I guess that is what dedicated liberals are anyway. Did you go to Yale? Stanford? You love the New Deal? Just think-all those government committees trying to figure out how to get more money to spend on more government projects.

In the United States of America, property rights are (were?) one of the cornerstones of freedom. What other cornerstones do you want to blow up?

I love your writings. Keep it up. Your fan.

Anonymous said...

Your previous misguided attempt to justify Kelo cited a private developer's acquisiton of occupied homes for a mixed use developement in Baltimore's Charles Village neighborhood. You thought the Kelo principles would be useful, indeed justified, in imposing this developer's plans on unwilling individuals.

In New Orleans, there is destruction on a Biblical scale (a disaster of the magnitude of a Bush presidency).

You seem to be equating a judgement that one private party's use is more beneficial than another's with the rather obvious situation where only the government would be able to restore a barren and devastated area to the status of a functioning city. Even pre-Kelo principles would allow condemnation of large swatches of N.O.

You have tried to snatch insight from the jaws of misjudgment. Again, you are wrong.

Anonymous said...

More from your FAN:
On May 21, Albert G. Mauti Jr. and his cousin Joseph hosted a fundraiser for Assemblyman Joseph Cryan at the Westmount Country Club in Passaic County. The two developers and family members picked up the $10,400 dinner tab, donated another $8,000 and raised more than $70,000 that night for the powerful Union County Democrat, according to state election records.
Three days later, the governing body in Cryan's hometown of Union Township -- all Democrats -- introduced an ordinance paving the way for the Mautis to build 90 or so townhouses on six acres of abandoned industrial land along the Conrail line in town.

There is just one problem: Union Township doesn't own the land.

It is owned by Carol Segal, a 65-year-old retired electrical engineer. Over the past 10 years, the Union Township resident says, he has spent about $1.5 million to acquire the property, and he, too, wants to build townhouses there.

Segal said he met with Cryan, who is head of the township's Democratic Party, and other local officials "scores of times" over the past five years to discuss the project. He claims the talks turned adversarial after he rejected proposals to work with various developers they proposed.

On May 24, the five-member township committee voted unanimously to authorize the municipality to seize Segal's land through eminent domain and name its own developer.

"They want to steal my land," Segal said. "What right do they have when I intend to do the exact same thing they want to do with my property?"

Don't ya just love it?