21 June 2006

Supreme Court Jesters Legitimate Land Theft by Eminent Domain

In today's Washington Times, Joyce Howard Price has a striking piece detailing the degree to which major corporations and local governments have taken to using the legal fiction of 'Eminent Domain' to legitimate the theft of land. Based on information in a newly released report from the Institute of Justice, Price reports:
Since the high court's 5-4 decision in Kelo v. City of New London, Conn., a year ago Friday, 5,783 properties nationwide have been either seized or threatened with seizure under eminent domain.

That number compares with 10,281 examples over the five-year period from 1998 to 2002, said the institute, a public-interest law firm that argued the Kelo case before the Supreme Court. During that period, threats were made to seize 6,560 properties, and 3,721 condemnation filings or authorizations were recorded.

In the past year, 5,429 property seizures have been threatened for economic redevelopment projects, plus 354 condemnation filings or authorizations, the institute said.
The use of 'Eminent Domain' to steal land is nothing new. Under the guise of 'urban renewal' or 'community redevelopment' through a process of ethnic cleansing euphamistically called 'gentrification', the poor have been purged and uprooted from their homes and property for years.

Yet even in this light, the Kelo decision has serious implications. Now, codified by the Supreme Court Jesters, real estate developers and bought-off local politicians can undertake the arbitrary theft of land on the flimsiest of pretexts with no fear of legal recrimination.
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