Right now, Sen. Ted Cruz is getting a great deal of mileage out of attacking Donald Trump on his support in his business deals for eminent domain, which is the government’s power to force landowners to give up private property “for public use,” while receiving “just compensation,” as the Fifth Amendment puts it.
In other words, when the government builds a highway through your land, it has to pay you the market value for that property. Unfortunately, in its 2005 Kelo decision, the Supreme Court, with a slim 5-to-4 majority, extended eminent domain to the seizure of property for the use of business.
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In that particular case, Susette Kelo was being forced from her modest New London, Conn., home so that an urban village of hotels and stores could be built near a massive pharmaceutical research center. Local government strongly supported and assisted the project. As one ousted homeowner succinctly put it, “They stole our home for economic development.”
The case has become a symbol of governmental arrogance and is prominently displayed on the Tea Party radar screen. But unlike gun ownership, government spending, income taxes, or social issues ranging from abortion to parental school vouchers, fighting expanded eminent domain is a cause that excites liberals too. Kelo was backed by powerful liberal groups that included the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, as well as South Jersey Legal Services, a nonprofit that provides “quality legal representation and advocacy to low-income individuals.” (Three low-income representation groups were also fighting a separate, similar redevelopment project at the same time in New Jersey.)Read the rest of Thomas McArdle's op-ed HERE.
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