Not only did they lose their homes, but they lost them retroactively and may owe back rent.
A friend of mine took a ride through New London recently, and told me the place is pretty much a dump. Most of the rest of the neighborhood has been levelled. Most of the other neighborhoods are old, decaying small houses on tiny lots where poverty runs rampant.
Trying to collect rent from someone whose property you confiscated takes a lot of nerve. I know it's been a few months since this case was decided, but I still can't believe that anyone, let alone five people supposedly qualified to interpret constitution, could think that taking property for "public use" means giving it to a drug company to "increase the tax base". This is another reason the Court needs Strict Constructionists. Hopefully Judge Roberts will fit that bill.
Originally posted by BigSteveI know it's been a few months since this case was decided, but I still can't believe that anyone, let alone five people supposedly qualified to interpret constitution, could think that taking property for "public use" means giving it to a drug company to "increase the tax base".
IIRC, it wasn't so much a case of the SC approving of the action as the SC stating that they really didn't have jurisdiction over the action, i.e. that it was up to local government to determine what constituted a legitimate public purpose for private land, and there wasn't a clear Constitutional basis for overriding local government's decisions about that.
Not that it doesn't suck.
The buyouts being based on 2000 rates is state law, according to the article, so there's not much they can do about that. The back rent demand, on the other hand, is as clear of a "fuck you" from the state to the defendants as could possibly be delivered. It's "you delayed our project for four years, so we'll hit you where it hurts" spite money, and what's worse is that depending on how state law is set up, it may well hold up legally.
Vanilla Ice on stardom: "I had a weekend that lasted a couple of years."
Originally posted by vspIIRC, it wasn't so much a case of the SC approving of the action as the SC stating that they really didn't have jurisdiction over the action, i.e. that it was up to local government to determine what constituted a legitimate public purpose for private land, and there wasn't a clear Constitutional basis for overriding local government's decisions about that.
I don't think that's the case. The 5th Amendment (applicable to the states through the 14th Amendment) says "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." The question to be decided was whether the public use clause would allow the actions of the city, namely transferring property through eminent domain from one private entity to another. Obviously the majority took an overly broad view of that clause and ruled that expanding a city's tax base qualified as "public use", essentially removing any effect the clause has.
Even better is that Justice Stevens said that the "Petitioners’ proposal that the Court adopt a new bright-line rule that economic development does not qualify as a public use is supported by neither precedent nor logic." Apparently it's illogical to think that giving people's homes to a drug company is not what the Constitution means by "public use". Good to know.
While I disagree as well with the way the Court looked at this ruling, I'm not sure that the Strict Constructionist approach necessarily would be against this ruling. After all, a lot of what those folks who complain about activist judges and their ilk harp on is the continued deterioration of the 10th Amendment. It seems to me that the ruling that this is something to be decided on a local level, that each community can determine its own standards for "public use", would fit neatly into the Federalist Society line of thinking.
I don't see how that's the case. The 10th Amendment ensures that the national government is one of limited, expressed powers and that powers not given to the national government are retained by the states (i.e. legalizing or not legalizing abortion). It doesn't give the local gov't the authority to make an end-run around clear constitutional protections. SCOTUS ruled on whether the Takings Clause of the 5th Amendment was violated by the town and said not that it wasn't applicable to the states but rather that it hadn't been violated by the states.
I'm sure someone in the Bush administration will start yelling "LOOK! WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION! WE TOLD YOU SO! WE KNEW IT ALL ALONG!" To which someone will hopefully respond "It's a chemical weapon from Al Qaeda, NOT from Saddam!