Friday, June 23, 2006

Oh No, They Can't Take That Away From Me: Eminent Domain Takes A Hit.

Thursday's Miami Herald reports that a Broward County judge has ruled that the City of Hollywood cannot take a small downtown business using eminent domain and convey it to a developer seeking to put together a $100 million project of condominiums and shops.

The City sought to take the property and considered expanding the tax base a public use.

According to the Herald, under recently passed legislation in the state of Florida, cities are severely restricted in using eminent domain in such cases. The legislation in question was signed into law by Governor Bush on 13 May of this year, and it was created largely in response to the Supreme Court's decision in Kelo v. City of New London last year.

Kelo makes for interesting reading, particularly in the "Who's for it and who's against it" heuristic analysis that many people use. In this case, the friends of the smallholder were the conservatives on the Court, and it's my opinion the dissenters had the better view, just as Mr. Justice Harlan's dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson was the better view of the issue, long term. I have not yet met a person who is familiar with the case who thinks that Kelo was a good decision.

Ultimately I believe that Kel0 was wrongly decided, the issue will be revisited, and the Supreme Court will reverse itself.


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