Back in 2005, a liberal-led Supreme Court upheld Kelo v. City of New London, a case which allowed local governments to use eminent domain laws to spur economic development. In other words, Kelo allows private developers to work with the government to rob people of their land. Four years later, the land where Susette Kelo’s home used to be is a vacant, trash-ridden lot:
Weeds, glass, bricks, pieces of pipe and shingle splinters have replaced the knot of aging homes at the site of the nation’s most notorious eminent domain project.
There are a few signs of life: Feral cats glare at visitors from a miniature jungle of Queen Anne’s lace, thistle and goldenrod. Gulls swoop between the lot’s towering trees and the adjacent sewage treatment plant.
But what of the promised building boom that was supposed to come wrapped and ribboned with up to 3,169 new jobs and $1.2 million a year in tax revenues? They are noticeably missing.
Kelo’s iconic pink home sat for more than a century on that currently empty lot, just steps away from Connecticut’s quaint but economically distressed Long Island Sound waterfront.
The president should keep that ruling in mind the next time he says that justices should have “a keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people.”