Commentary

Eminent Domain Slam Dunk in Ohio!

The Institute for Justice is reporting that the Ohio Supreme Court has unanimously decided the taking of private property for economic development purposes in Norwood Ohio is unconstitutional. The following note was sent out by the Institute for Justice earlier today:

I write to inform you that the Ohio Supreme Court, in a unanimous opinion, has ruled that under the Ohio Constitution: 1) “economic development” is not, by itself, a public use that would justify the exercise of eminent domain powers; 2) Ohio courts must apply “heightened scrutiny” when reviewing statutes that regulate the use of eminent domain powers; 3) the use of the “deteriorating area” standard to justify a taking is unconstitutional “because the term inherently incorporates speculation as to the future condition of the property… rather than the condition of the property at the time of the taking”; and (as a bonus) the statutory section that ostensibly prevented appellate courts from preventing the destruction of homes after the trial court’s ruling in favor of the government is also unconstitutional under the separation of powers doctrine. This opinion appears to be an unequivocal home run for property owners in Ohio.

Samuel R. Staley, Ph.D. is a senior research fellow at Reason Foundation and managing director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University in Tallahassee where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in urban planning, regulation, and urban economics. Prior to joining Florida State, Staley was director of urban growth and land-use policy for Reason Foundation where he helped establish its urban policy program in 1997.