9/09/2004

Egregious Misuse of Eminent Domain

EDITORIAL: Eminent domain

Within the next three or four weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide whether to hear a case involving the egregious misuse of eminent domain by the city of New London, Conn.

As has occurred in many places around the country — including Las Vegas — the Connecticut city used this awesome power, traditionally reserved for the advancement of public projects, to transfer property from 15 private homeowners to a developer.

Connecticut's highest court upheld the clearly unconstitutional land grab. But state supreme courts around the country have been split on the issue — and in July, the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously reversed its 1980 Poletown decision that municipalities around the nation had cited to justify using eminent domain to seize private land and turn it over to a third party.

"The bottom line is this," noted Dana Berliner, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm that fights for the sanctity of private property rights: "Homeowners and small businesses will not be safe until the high court issues a clear ruling that will end eminent domain abuse, once and for all."

Indeed. Let's hope the Supreme Court takes the case — and then rules that this pernicious practice does indeed run counter to the ideals of freedom and liberty.


Las Vegas Review-Journal: www.reviewjournal.com