What Fifth Amendment?
By Pejman Yousefzadeh Posted in Eminent Domain Abuse | Law — Comments (1) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Precisely three years and one day ago, the Supreme Court entertained oral arguments in Kelo v. City of New London. And alas, the Court's decision in Kelo was lamentable, despite the manifest and overwhelming evidence concerning the degree of eminent domain abuse that goes on in the United States.
One aspect of that abuse concerns the designation of "urban blight" that leads to the exercise of eminent domain powers. As I pointed out here, while land value can at times be depressed, a depression in value does should not automatically lead to the conclusion that land is "blighted." And yet, far too often, that is exactly what happens. It happened in Kelo and led to the exercise of eminent domain powers in that case.
One would think that the overuse of the "blight" designation was bad enough and a sufficiently fearsome impediment to the belief that a person's home is his or her castle. But there is something else to worry about as well. As Ilya Somin points out, blight designations are like cockroaches. You just can't kill them off. And efforts to do so only serve to raise the hackles of land-planning bureaucrats who believe that the power to condemn a particular piece of land ought to be timeless. As such, they resist legislative efforts to set deadlines of as long as forty years for blight redevelopment plans to be implemented.
It's ironic, really. "Blight" is a term that is utterly abused as a means of condemning land for planning and profit--at the expense of business owners and home owners whose presence is inconvenient to the bureaucrats in love with eminent domain abuse. But strangely enough, few people appear to be willing to talk and write about the blight on the Takings Clause of the Constitution that comes from eminent domain abuse.
I hear there is a Presidential election this year. Any chance that a voice or two from on high could be raised about this issue? If the Constitution really is worth defending--and I certainly believe that it is--then there is no excuse to keep silent any longer.