Free Markets, Free People

So Where Does Ms. Kelo Go To Get Her Home Back?

I‘m sure she’d appreciate it given how hard she fought to save it.  But alas it is no longer there.  In one of the biggest “Constitutional” travesties in my lifetime, the Supreme Court sided with the city of New London to essentially give the property to a private concern which had promised to “lure jobs” to the town.  In a total misuse of eminent domain, the property on which Ms. Kelo’s house used to sit is a “wasteland of weeds”.  And Pfizer, the company that was going to bring all those jobs in return for the condemnation?

Pfizer’s laying off and closing up shop there:

Pfizer Inc. will shut down its massive New London research and development headquarters and transfer most of the 1,400 people working there to Groton, the pharmaceutical giant said Monday….

Pfizer is now deciding what to do with its giant New London offices, and will consider selling it, leasing it and other options, a company spokeswoman said.

How about just handing them over to Ms. Kelo? In this disgraceful, but landmark case, 5 justices managed to somehow twist the law to the point that they agreed taking the town’s taking of the Kelo property for redevelopment at the be behest of Pfizer, a private concern, on the promise of more jobs somehow met the ‘public use’ criteria. The ruling put the property of every American in jeopardy of taking for almost anything a local government can dream up. And it remains in jeopardy today.  Pfizer should have been left to offer homeowners a price if they wanted that land so badly.  It should never have seen the government, at any level, involve itself.  And it darn sure shouldn’t have seen the Supreme Court approving the use of “eminent domain” to take the property.

Scott Bullock, Kelo’s co-counsel in the case, told me: “This shows the folly of these redevelopment projects that use massive taxpayer subsidies and other forms of corporate welfare and abuse eminent domain.”

I’ll go one further than Mr. Bullock – this wasn’t an “abuse” of eminent domain, this completely rewrote eminent domain, to the detriment of the right of private property. The Kelo ruling was wrong and it was as anti-liberty as any recent ruling the Supreme Court has made. If you had confidence that the SCOTUS had your back on Constitutional matters, this ruling alone should have disabused yourself of that notion.

And look how well it has ended.

~McQ

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35 Responses to So Where Does Ms. Kelo Go To Get Her Home Back?

  • I always felt that the previous owner of a property taken by eminent domain should be given “first refusal rights” if the property later passes from “public” to “private” hands.

  • 1) I agree Kelo was a poor decision…..though the USSC gave the Congress an “out”, post-Kelo to correct the Federal deficiencies.

     

    2) I assume that Suzette Kelo could attempt to purchase her old lot from the City of New London.  They didn’t “seize” her house, they PAID her for the house, you know.  She got Fair Market Value/Appraisal Value you understand.  All too often people make it sound as if the City merely showed up, Bailiffs in tow, and piled her belongings on the street-side and dispossessed her.  That didn’t happen…what happened was New London FORCED her to take the$80,000/150,000/300,000 that the PVA or Appraiser judged the property to be “worth.”  So, with that money I guess she could see about buying the lot back and re-building….

     

    3) In a wasteland.  She’d be in the same boat, no home, neighbors and neighborhood gone, weeds and desolation with or without Kelo.  If Pfizer had bought her out, the property would still be vacant.  The project failed, and with or without Kelo and the USSC that wasteland would still be sitting there in New London.  I guess Suzette Kelo was scr#wed from the get-go…eminent domain or simple fee purchase, she was going to lose the house and the PROJECT WAS NOT GOING TO BE BUILT.  There was going to be irony/heart-ache in the end, no matter what, doancha think?  Ms Kelo would have simply had a larger pile of cash to console her lose with without Eminent Domain.
    It is interesting to ask, of Pfizer, “Was it the 12 year legal battle that bankrupted the scheme?  Would it not have been more efficient to simply have bought Suzette’s house at an inflated greater than fair market value, rather than wait for YEARS as the courts ground out the decision?” 
    True, Pfizer saved money, in that New London litigated the case, not Pfizer, but still time IS money.  Had Pfizer simply walked thru the neighborhood(s) with a sack o’ cash that might have acquired 90-95% of the land they wanted/needed.  Rather than waiting over a decade to begin the project could have begone to recoup its costs within a few years.  As it was by the time the land was available for use by Pfizer, Pfizer no longer had a need for the land.
    It seems both Pfizer AND New London were “penny-wise, pound foolish.”  Sure, it APPEARED Eminent Domain was the short-cut to low-cost land acquisition, and money-wise for Pfizer, no doubt it was.  But in the end, all the MONEY saved, did not translate into a TIME-saving, and so as I say it might have been better for Pfizer to have simply paid the money out up-front, getting 90% of what they needed, in the short-run and probably getting 100% of what was needed when the hold-outs realized that taxes, quality of life issues, and/or heir decisions would skew the remainder to selling, eventually….(taxes: the property values would have SOARED and so would the TAXES.  No Neighborhood Association or Neighbors NOW, and finally “Grandma was an idiot for not selling, now that the old girl’s gone let’s see if Pfizer still wants the lot?)
    New London would ahve been better served by making zoning changes easier.  Once the Residential Land had been purchased by Pfizer, New London would have been better served in a quick conversion from “R” to “C” or “I”.  Instead New London fought court battles for more than a decade, at a cost tot he City, and then once the land was in hand, the final purchaser simply did not build…leaving both Pfizer and New London holding the bag.
    With or without the Kelo decision, this is an interesting case study about how to NOT manage Industrial/Economic Development.

    • “1) I agree Kelo was a poor decision…..though the USSC gave the Congress an “out”, post-Kelo to correct the Federal deficiencies.”

      You should not have to wait for the whim of congress to ensure your rights.  Congress can correct this but then later take that away again if they please. 

      The original intent of the Constitution should have been respected, unfortunately there’s very little check on Judicial abuse in Constitutional interpretation.  Its a flaw that will be our undoing eventually. 

      • What the USSC said was that Congress could change the law, which it did, so that Federal projects could be made exempt from such Eminent Domain issues.  The FEDERAL issues were about Federal money going to support the local development issue.

        The Eminent Domain fight was about Connecticut’s ability to use Eminent Domain for this purchase, and the definition of “Public Purpose.”  The court accepted increased tax revenues as a valid “public purchase” but held that both Congress and Connecticut were perfectly FREE TO CHANGE THE LAW AND THUS THE DEFINTION.  I believe the Fed’s did.

        • Yes, but that puts you at the mercy of the government of the moment (federal and local) and errodes your constitutionally protected rights which are suppose to be immune from local whim and to some degree federal whim. 

          • Your rights can be abridged with due process, according to the Constitution.  So, by your logic, your rights are always subject to local whim.
            The whole point to Eminent Domain is to force the states to use due process in taking property.

    • what happened was New London FORCED her to take the$80,000/150,000/300,000 that the PVA or Appraiser judged the property to be “worth

      ***
      That’s like in Goodfellas when Jimmy hijacks the truck but gives the driver a $50 to make it go down easier

  • And the Left is just dying for the chance for Obama to nominate a replacement for one of the four somewhat non-statist judges. 

  • Eminent Domain is never going to be loved, here or anywhere else, unless it benefits YOU…but Suzette DID money for the house, and not just $50.  Did she not want to sell or just not for the amount offered?

    As I said above, in any case it appears Ms Kelo was scr#wed….with or without Eminent Domain, the development failed…she was going to lose her house for NOTHING, not matter what.  he only question was how big was the pile o’cash she was going to receive?

    • Did she not want to sell or just not for the amount offered?

      It really doesn’t matter. Her property, her decision – unless, of course, you prefer force win out over property rights

      • Bruce, had the state bought her property through Eminent Domain and built a park, we would never even have heard of Ms. Kelo.  Everyone would have said that the state had acted legally.
        So, there is established law that allows the state to buy property from an individual without the individual’s consent, but with fair compensation.  That’s not force winning out over property rights, that’s a state exerting its Constitutionally allocated power.
         
        Do you want to argue that Eminent Domain shouldn’t exist at all?   That would require a partial repeal of the 5th Amendment.

    • I think that shark’s point was that she was forced into a situation that she didn’t want.  If she didn’t want to sell the property but was forced to, then the amount of money given doesn’t change that.

    • Actually I believe the question was also about the scope of Eminent Domain.  Not just that it serve a direct public interest but that it served an indirect interest that had an uncertain outcome.  The comparison is building a road for increased access or building a dam to supply power needs versus Giving property to company X might bring Y jobs. 

      It wasn’t just about dollar value.

      • Concerning the scope of Eminent Domain, I think the court’s ruling was that (a) the Constitution leaves the issue vague, which means that the states have some leeway in declaring what is “public use”, and (b) Connecticut had passed a law allowing them to take the land in this case.  The various state legislatures can define “public use” for ED as narrowly or broadly as they see fit.
        Based on that, I’d say the ruling showed proper respect to the 10th Amendment, something we usually applaud.  Sure, Connecticut’s law sucked.  So, it’s up to the people in Connecticut to change their stupid law.
         

  • And the USSC DEFERRED TO A STATE LEGISLATIVE BODY…you know that vaunted “Judicial Restraint.”  The Court held that the Cn. law was Constitutional, even if it might be bad policy….They did NOT make a NATIONAL Ruling….in my state Kelo has no effect.  So Federalism and Judical Restraint are good as long as they thwart Nancy Pelosi, but not so good when they hinder the good folks at QandO?

  • I think that shark’s point was that she was forced into a situation that she didn’t want.  If she didn’t want to sell the property but was forced to, then the amount of money given doesn’t change that.

    Life’s full of economic exhanges like that…I wasn’t entirely pleased to sell my ancestral manse on after the Parental Units died, and the price wasn’t all I hoped for either, BUT I took the deal.  It certainly can’t be that Suzette Kelo DIDN”T WANT to sell….down that road lies a place you don’t want to go either.

    • BUT I took the deal.
      That’s great, because YOU took the deal. A government didn’t make the decision for you.
      It certainly can’t be that Suzette Kelo DIDN”T WANT to sell
      Why the hell not?

  • Certainly this situation is full  of lessons learned, for both Pfizer and New London.  I’m glad they both got what they got, which is apparently nothing, in the end.

    I just don’t see this is the end of the world, constitutionally…Pfizer and New London conspired to make bad public policy.  The resultant debacle damaged both…really if the City Council of New London suffered serious politcal re-making that would be the best. 

    As I said above, this is an example of how NOT to make “economic development” happen.  Lower taxes, less regulation, a more business friendly atmosphere would probably done Pfizer more good than New London seizing the land…and New London’s leaders basically said they preferred white collar jobs and parking garages to those pesky ctizens they had to provide services for, so I hope the pesky voters voted the town council out of office for this mess.

  • Your rights can be abridged with due process, according to the Constitution.  So, by your logic, your rights are always subject to local whim.
    Your “whim” My Public Purpose, I guess…As you say your Life, Liberty and Property can be taken from you, against your will, by the State.  If that’s “whimsy” so be it…it’s a concomitant of living within an organized society.  It’s the rules by which you can lose your life, liberty or property that determine the degree of Freedom you have.  Which segues to….

    The whole point to Eminent Domain is to force the states to use due process in taking property.

    And New London DID use Due Process…both in the PROCESS, unless you care to make a claim otherwise concerning violations of CN Eminent Domain PROCEDURES, and in Substance, as judged by the Highest Court in the US.  The USSC held you might not LIKE the CN law but that it was not unconstitutional…and if enough people objected, then the law was open to change.  As of yet, in CN it doesn’t seem to have been changed.  I guess society, as aw hole, approves of this definition of “public purpose.”

    • Joe, that comment of mine, was not addressed to you.  It was in response to jpm100’s comment.  I agree with you on this issue.

  •  BUT I took the deal.
    That’s great, because YOU took the deal. A government didn’t make the decision for you.
    It certainly can’t be that Suzette Kelo DIDN”T WANT to sell
    Why the hell not?

    Suzette Kelo had to take the deal because that’s what the courts made her do.  She had to take the money just as if they were building a bridge or a public park on her lot.  The USSC held that increased tax revenue was a public purpose under CN law.  And CN. didn’t see the need to amend that law.

    She had to take the deal because that’s what Eminent Domain means, the state can take your land, after agreed upon steps and conditions.  You may not like it, but you can change your state constitution or laws to outlaw eminent domain, if you care to.

  • Has anybody else noticed that Joe has not correctly quoted the 5th amendment a single time?  That he, like the 5 judges in the majority, has to change one word to make his oh so reasonable interpretation fly?

    • nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.[1]

      WOW, you mean this part?  She GOT “just compensation” The debate was about “public use.”  Which CN. defined in such a manner that it included increased tax revenues for New London.  The USSC upheld the constitutionality of that portion of CN law.

      So, now that I’ve quoted the Fifth Amendment, are you happy? 
       
      Here’s a news flash, dude/dudette the US Constitution is SELDOM ever clear about what it “means” exactly.
       

      • Good lord, you two are such contemptible boot-lickers. You have no idea of real liberty and instead worship the state, babbling on about legalese nonsense you don’t even understand.

        Kelo had her house <b>seized</b> — how can either of you maintain that it was it not? She didn’t leave voluntarily. She left because the police would have dragged her out, and physically resisting would have meant additional force to subdue her. She could have also been arrested and jailed for contempt of court, no matter how wrong the court’s decision was. It doesn’t matter. As Jefferson put it, “Law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”

        Kelo was forced to take “just compensation” — it was never enough to convince her to sell, but she had to accept, or else. You can blabber all you want about “fair market value,” but that does not mean someone has the right to force someone to sell property at a price the owner thinks is too low. What you, “society” or “government” thinks is a “fair price” doesn’t matter. That’s none of your business: people will ascribe different economic values to the same thing, and it’s the owner’s right to want higher than someone else would ask for. It doesn’t matter that Kelo wanted to continue living in a blighted area. That’s none of your business, either. Or do you think you or “society” have a right to make people live elsewhere? Do you not believe that people have rights over their own property?

        Why don’t you take a midnight walk through some friendly parts of Brooklyn, say, Brownsville, Crown Heights or East New York? Be sure to sport nice clothes and flash a bit of dough. I’m sure that some locals would love to demonstrate how they can acquire your possessions without “seizing” them. You’ll be no more harmed than Kelo and other affected homeowners were.

        You cite “law” and even “the Constitution” as if they’re absolute, when in fact law that violates individuals’ rights is of no effect, being inherently unjust. Do you defend slavery as “legal” before the 13th Amendment? Or do you understand that just because something is “the law” does not mean it is automatically just and correct?

        Just because the Supreme Court makes a decision does not mean it’s correct. Don’t you know what happened to Dred Scott? His status as mere property was, guess what, ruled according to the law.

        You cite “due process” and ignore that William Wallace, Anne Boleyn, John Lathrop, Giles Corey and countless others were given “due process” according to the law. “Due process” is a meaningless phrase to lovers of liberty, and a tool for the tyrant to make things legally permissible.
        <blockquote>Here’s a news flash, dude/dudette the US Constitution is SELDOM ever clear about what it “means” exactly.</blockquote>And yet you cite it to support your own side. You’re nothing but a hypocrite, “Joe.”

        As wrong as the Constitution can be, it was written very plainly. What does ”
        <blockquote>I wasn’t entirely pleased to sell my ancestral manse on after the Parental Units died, and the price wasn’t all I hoped for either, BUT I took the deal.</blockquote>And why did you? Money pressure? Or did the government come and tell you that you <b>had</b> to sell, because everyone up to the Supreme Court said so?

        You apparently chose to sell. No one threatened to toss you out if you didn’t comply.
        <blockquote>So, there is established law that allows the state to buy property from an individual without the individual’s consent, but with fair compensation.  That’s not force winning out over property rights, that’s a state exerting its Constitutionally allocated power.</blockquote>What disingenuous bullcrap. It’s still force, because the homeowner didn’t want to do it. The fact that it’s “Constitutionally allocated power” still does not make it “right” or “proper.” Why is this so hard for you boot-lickers to comprehend?

        Even going by your standard of the Constitution, eminent domain was never intended for this. The four conservative justices disagreed, in case you didn’t notice. You’re defending the five liberal justices who think it’s ok for government to make someone sell his home to a private buyer.

        You two are just two more reasons this country has gone to hell, not only because you look the other way when the state runs roughshod over people’s rights, but because you defend the state’s power to do so. Don’t cry to us when it happens to you. In fact, would you care to give us your addresses, so the rest of us can arrange for your local governments to condemn your residences andgive you pennies on the dollar?

        And here are two free hints, Joe. First, right-click “Reply” so that you can make things threaded, instead of your myriad posts of trying to drown out everybodyelse? (But that’s the only way you “win” threads here, anyway.) And second, Connecticut is abbreviated <b>CT</b>, not CN. Then again, Connecticut’s loathsome seizure of property is exactly what you’d expect in China.

        • Well Perry don’t care much about or for your “free” advice…it’s worth about what I’ve paid for it.

          Boot-licking or not, it’s the LAW, not some Anarcho-Syndicalist/Anarcho-Capitalist Commune we have here.  So if you have some EVIDENCE to support your nasty ad hominems I’m afraid your opinion is like some many other opinions…you know @ssholes.

          I also notice you haven’t mentioned the Conservative portions fo the ruling, you know RESTRAINT and Federalism…..

          • There you go again: “But it’s the law!” coupled with your own known style of ad hominems. You’re such a hypocrite and liar.
            It doesn’t matter what political philosophy someone espouses. Address the issues. “The law,” even in this country, used to say that people were property. That’s nice how you babble on and ignore what refutes you — didn’t you ever hear of Dred Scott, and how the Supreme Court said he was property?
            “The law” on this continent once said that it was treason to imply the slightest thing against the Crown. “The law” on this continent once said that anyone preaching had to have a license from the crown, and the penalty was to be flogged nearly to death. Was that right? Patrick Henry witnessed such an injustice, inspiring part of his “Give me liberty or give me death” speech.
            You wrote: “Funny the CT (Thanks) Legislature felt that “increased tax revenues” were a valid public purpose.   And the USSC agreed, deferring to their view.”
            And so what? What does it matter if 99 out of 100 people vote to steal from the last person? Or 999,999,999 out of a billion? If it’s “the law” that we could vote to beat you, does that make it right?
            Just because “the highest court” agrees does not make it right. It only required five people out of over 300 million to say, “Yeah, sure, take her house.”
            Do you still deny that it was seized? If so, how can you?
            Think, damn you, think. Get <i>something</i> working between those two neurons of yours. “The law” does not mean it’s is right. Do you deny that there have been bad laws constantly throughout human history? Yet by your standard, they were “the law.”
            <b>If the law says that it’s legal to do something against someone’s unalienable rights, then the law is wrong.</b> That is it.
            The year is rapidly approaching 1775, and very soon, you and the other Tories are not going to like things very much. You not only accept your chains, but you want to help put them on others. Congratulations: you’re a modern day Pharisee, so short-sightedly worried about “the law” that you forget the principles of justice and mercy. You shut the doors of justice against everyone, not opening them for yourself and preventing everyone else from going in. Every person you convert to your philosophy of slavery becomes two-fold more a child of tyranny.
            Tell us your address, you miserable boot-licker. Let’s see how you like it when your home is seized from under you?
            Good god, you fool, be ashamed for not living up to what God set out for you. You don’t seem to realize that some of us <i>are</i> trying to help you. If you want to live under someone else’s yoke, so be it — just don’t make the rest of us carry your burden.
            Run along and lick some more boots. You don’t need to expose yourself further as a child of hell.

        • And they only repky over 4 levels…plus I wasn’t responding…I was posting…YOU RESPONDED….

          Keep up the An-Cap fight dude/dudette….don’t worry about the Law or the Constitution, just keep talking aobut rights and private property.  Funny the CT (Thanks) Legislature felt that “increased tax revenues” were a valid public purpose.   And the USSC agreed, deferring to their view.

      • So, now that I’ve quoted the Fifth Amendment, are you happy?�

        You do not have the power to make me happy.  You do, however, have the power to act like an asshole.

        Congratulations.

  • Or do you know exactly what “establishment means”?  OR is there a substantive nature to the word “liberty” in the Fifth Amendment?  We debate this simple phrases, all the time.

    • If you cannot define the simple words “establishment” and “liberty,” then you are more of a fool than we already knew you to be. The only people who clamor for “debate” are tyrants and their followers. The latter means…you.

  • Seizing someone’s property and giving it to developers to enhance tax revenue ( and, incidentally, to make money for the developers) is good public policy. Reducing tax revenue by giving tax breaks to the same developers is  good public policy. Draw your own conclusion.

    Does ‘just compensation’ also cover the time, money, and aggravation of searching for a new place to live and moving? Things like having to take time off from work, travel expenses, etc.

  • Does anyone here really see this Joe idiot for what he is, yet?
     

    • Gee you mean someone who doesn’t make claims about anyone having a right to thermo-nuclear weapon or claiming that the US Constitution doesn’t apply to them because they didn’t sign it, you  know YOU!

      Or do you mean is Joe someone who criticized the entire deal made by Pfizer and New London, but also realized that the US Supreme Court didn’t find it Unconstitutional.  And therefore, further, that Joe isn’t someone to wage some kind of Quixotic campaign against a legal system that doesn’t care what anonymous Internet commenter’s, claim?

      I figure that’s what Joe shows s/he is…usually Beck only shows himself to be abusive and insulting and opaque…preaching only to choir and converting no one to his/her cause.  I don’t know if everyone has figured that out yet, but I bet a lot have…I certainly know which one of the two I prefer.

      • You criticize the “deal” but say nothing about the seizure of people’s property. So much for your “criticism.” What worthless tripe.
        Between you and Billy, there’s absolutely no question. In the cause of freedom, I have no doubt whatsoever that Billy would watch my back. I can say that even though I haven’t ever had the pleasure of meeting him in person.
        We know where <i>you</i> stand. You’d have watched the Romans leading Jesus to Golgotha and asked, “Hey, can I help you with that criminal?”