More Eminent Domain Courtroom Drama
Today the Wall Street Journal reports on the latest episode of eminent domain in the courts:
New York’s highest court is set to hear arguments Wednesday in a case that will decide whether the state government can lawfully seize private property for a development company.
The story is very familiar, although the actors are different. This time, the New York State Urban Development Corp., a government agency, assumes the role previously played by the city of New London, Conn. A chorus of concerned land owners reprise the role of Susette Kelo, the woman in the little pink house. Forest City Ratner Cos. replaces the New London Development Corporation in the role of the developer, and instead of building a Pfizer research complex, it plans to build an NBA stadium in downtown Brooklyn.
Stay tuned! If the Court of Appeals in Albany sides with the property owners and introduces additional limits on eminent domain, there will be a happy ending. If the court sides with the developers, there will be an unhappy ending, as there was in New London. This will mean that, in addition to other negative consequences, the property owners will lose their homes and the city will lose money on the project.
The city’s Independent Budget Office said in a report last month that the arena would cost the city nearly $170 million, nearly $40 million more in spending than it would generate in tax revenues.
Eminent domain is not reserved for East Coast cities like New York and New London — it’s a pukka issue here in Missouri, too. Last month, the Show-Me Institute released a study of the expansion of eminent domain in Missouri, and it also hosted Jeff Benedict to speak about the eminent domain abuse that occurred in the Kelo v. New London Supreme Court case.