Out of Control Policy Blog

Practical impacts of Kelo--2 years later

If anyone needed proof of the harm done by the Kelo decision 2 years ago, all they need to do is read Myth #4 in the International Economic Development Council's "Eminent Domain Resource Kit".

Myth 4: The use of eminent domain violates private property rights.

Reality: Local and state authorities have the constituitonal power to acquire porperty through eminent domain on the condition of just compensation.

The real 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (emphasis added) says:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Economic development professionals no longer think its necessary to even mention that takings should be subjec to "public use" constraint. Apparently, we were correct in our analysis of the Kelo decision in June 2005 when we said the U.S. Supreme Court's decision effectively negats any practical application of "public use" scrutiny to local government decision to take private property.

The IEDC is perhaps the world's foremost trade association of economic development professionals.

Samuel Staley is Research Fellow


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