Eminent domain

Just days after I wrote about possible candidates for the US Supreme Court, the Court handed down one of its most appalling rulings. Municipal authorities in the US can now seize private land - under what the UK calls 'compulsory purchase orders' - with virtually no restrictions. It can be to enable another private party to buy the land. As Justice O'Connor put it, any Motel 6 can now be seized in favour of a Ritz Carlton, and any residential property can be handed over to a shopping mall developer. The ruling applies virtually no limit on the term 'public purposes'. More or less any proposal which will lead to higher local tax revenues can be approved.

Let's hope this ruling lasts nowhere near as long as the appalling Plessey v Ferguson.

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