Eminent Domain Before the US Supreme Court

Larry Salzman and Alex Epstein have published their analysis of an important new Supreme Court case, including an impassioned defense of property rights.
From the article in the Naples Daily News:

The case of Kelo v. New London now before the U.S. Supreme Court could determine the future of property rights in America. The central question: Should the government be able to use its power of eminent domain to seize property from one private party and transfer it to another?
The seven property owners on the side of Kelo are the last remaining of more than 70 families whose homes and businesses were targeted for demolition several years ago by the city of New London, Conn., to make room for a 90-acre private development. The story of one of the owners, Susette Kelo, is representative.
Kelo, a nurse, bought and painstakingly restored a home that initially was so rundown she needed to cut her way to the front door with a hatchet. After she had achieved her dream home, she was informed, in November 2000, by the local government that her home was condemned, and ordered to vacate it within 90 days. She and other owners in the neighborhood remain in their homes only by the grace of a court order, which prevents eviction and demolition until their appeals are exhausted.
What justifies this treatment of Kelo and the other owners, who simply want to be free to live on their own property? The seizures and transfers, the government says, are in “the public interest,” because they will lead to more jobs for New London residents and more tax dollars for the government.
This type of justification was given more than 10,000 times between 1998 and 2002, and across 41 states, to use eminent domain (or its threat) to seize private property. The attitude behind these seizures was epitomized by a Lancaster, Calif., city attorney explaining why a 99 Cents Only store should be condemned to make way for a Costco: “99 Cents produces less than $40,000 (a year) in sales taxes, and Costco was producing more than $400,000. You tell me, which was more important?”
To such government officials, the fact that an individual earns a piece of property, and wants to use and enjoy it, is of no importance ? all that matters is “the public.” But as philosopher Ayn Rand observed, “there is no such entity as ‘the public,’ since the public is merely a number of individuals … (T)he idea that ‘the public interest’ supersedes private interests and rights can have but one meaning: that the interests and rights of some individuals take precedence over the interests and rights of others.”

See the full article for further details.