When I wrote about the Texas constitutional amendments about two weeks ago, I mentioned the Supreme Court case that turned eminent domain upside down, Kelo v. City of New London. I wondered how the development had turned out, especially given the economic downturn that occurred after the 2005 decision. I hadn’t gotten a chance to investigate, but this morning’s Wall Street Journal answered my questions.
In short, after the city and state spend $78 million to confiscate private property, demolish the homes, and clear the land, the area still sits vacant with none of the promised development. Further, Pfizer (the company who nearby facilities were the primary reason for the planned development) recently announced that it is closing their R&D headquarters located there. The Supreme Court’s decision proclaimed that the expected increased tax revenue and jobs made this pass the eminent domain test. But they will never materialize. Forty-three states, including Texas, have passed laws restricting the scope of eminent domain beyond what the federal government does. The Journal cites this as a silver lining. However, I believe that if the Supreme Court had made the right decision in the first place, the states would not have had to pass the laws.
I don’t know how long the link will be active or the full text available to non-subscribers, but click here to read the Wall Street Journal opinion piece.