Well, there is some new news. The U.S. Supreme Court has just voted, 5-4, that
"local governments may seize people’s homes and businesses against their will for private development."
In other words, the Court has decided that the controversial concept of eminent domain can now extend beyond the condemnation of private property for public development, and can be used also for private development, on the theory that such development increases community tax revenue.
"As a result," notes AP, "cities now have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes in order to generate tax revenue."
This is obviously bad news for those who’ve opposed Bruce Ratner’s proposed Atlantic Yards mega-project here in Brooklyn, partly on its apparent misuse of Eminent Domain. It’s also bad news for anyone who operates under the belief that, should you own your own home, you know, you might actually own your own home. (And not have to give it up to filthy rich developers and greedy politicians.) And it’s especially bad news for those of us who considers ourselves on the left-wing or liberal side of the fence, because the five Justices voting in support of the expanded Eminent Domain – Justice Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer and Justice John Paul Stevens – include all the traditionally ‘liberal’ justices. It was, instead, the typically conservative Supreme Court justices (and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor) who recognized the inherent immorality of an expanded eminent domain and argued against it.
The case that came before the Court revolves around a proposed riverside development in New London, Connecticut. Notes the NY Times,
"The New London neighborhood that will be swept away includes Victorian-era houses and small businesses that in some instances have been owned by several generations of families. Among the New London residents in the case is a couple in their 80s who have lived in the same home for more than 50 years."