In a much anticipated ruling, the US Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, said it is okay for local governments to use the right of eminent domain to purchase (and then tear down) people's homes and businesses for to make way for private development. In short, in my opinion, the US Supreme Court is advocating government assisted land grabs. Very bad.
A divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses against their will for private development in a decision anxiously awaited in New London, Conn., and other communities where economic growth often is at war with individual property rights.
The 5-4 ruling, assailed by dissenting Justice Sandra Day O'Connor as handing "disproportionate influence and power" to the well-heeled in America, was a defeat for residents of the Fort Trumbull neighborhood of New London whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex.
They had argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas.
This of course is bad news for the Sportif, Ltd bicycle shop on Chicago's northwest side. Alderman Patrick Levar is trying to use the same tactic to tear down a property he claims is blighted, as blogged about here and here. A local developer wants the property so he can build condos there.
I've driven past that property, it is not blighted but is located in an economically strategic area: Two blocks from an interstate highway exit, three blocks from an "el" stop.
Is anyone's property safe?