In 2005, the Supreme Court of the US sided with the City of New London, CT in a case that changed how many people viewed eminent domain laws. In Kelo v City of New London, the SCOTUS gave the city of New London the ok to take property from private citizens with the hopes that redevelopment would lead to an economic revival for the city. Nine years later,
it seems as though people lost their family homes for nothing.
It’s 2014, and the land that was supposed to be a revitalized area sits empty, with overgrown lots and even the primary party involved, Pfizer, has long bailed out on this town. Subsequent plans have been formulated only to wither in the wind. The damage has long been done and is beyond reversible now. Property that has been seized can’t be unseized. Families that have been uprooted can’t be transplanted back to the same spot as though nothing has transpired. Homes that have been razed can’t be rebuilt with the same memories that were there before.
It’s a sad tale to see how people had their lives ruined and families were uprooted all for naught. The Weekly Standard has an excellent article that digs deeply into the story and gives outsiders a better view of what went on. Suffice to say, that particular case led to a flurry of laws to address eminent domain overreach by government on different levels. Eminent domain, when used within Constitutional boundaries, can be a benefit to a community. When it’s abused, the benefit is lost.