Thursday, June 23, 2005

Land Developers Misusing the 5th Amendment

More Signs of America's Corruption:

The Fifth Amendment allows governments to take away (and compensate for) privately owned land for "public use" (i.e. roads, parks, etc).

In New London, Connecticut, city officials are claiming it's within "public use" for tossing out homeowners that are in the way of building office complexes. And what's worse, the Supreme Court denies any power in the matter:
Writing for the court, Justice John Paul Stevens said local officials, not federal judges, know best in deciding whether a development project will benefit the community. States are within their rights to pass additional laws restricting condemnations if residents are overly burdened, he said.

"The city has carefully formulated an economic development that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including but by no means limited to new jobs and increased tax revenue," Stevens wrote in an opinion joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

"It is not for the courts to oversee the choice of the boundary line nor to sit in review on the size of a particular project area," he said.


New London officials countered that the private development plans served a public purpose of boosting economic growth that outweighed the homeowners' property rights, even if the area wasn't blighted.

"We're pleased," attorney Edward O'Connell, who represents New London Development Corporation, said in response to the ruling.

Sorry, city officials. That's not what the 5th Amendment was for. You can't justify corporate development and kick-backs to you by saying there might be community benefits like jobs and economic growth. Nice work, Supreme Court. When it comes to protecting Bush's "ownership society", we can now see whose side you're on.


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posted by Brian at 8:59 AM


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