The Institute for Justice is asking the Supreme Court to rehear the Kelo case, arguing that in just the few weeks since the decision was handed down, much has changed that should make them reconsider their decision. It’s a desperate move, not likely to succeed, but they have a point about what has happened in the last 3 weeks:
As the petition points out as the first basis for the rehearing, the floodgates to eminent domain abuse have already begun to swing open. “Justice O’Connor predicted a world in which a Motel 6 can be taken for a Ritz-Carlton, and homes for a shopping mall,” said Dana Berliner, a senior attorney at the Institute and co-counsel in the Kelo case. “The majority wrongly dismissed these as hypotheticals when in fact such takings are already occurring throughout the country.”
Among many other examples of lower-tax producing businesses being taken for higher-tax producing ones just since the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Institute for Justice cited:
* Hours after the Kelo decision, officials in Freeport, Texas, began legal filings to seize two family-owned seafood companies to make way for a more upscale business: an $8 million private boat marina.
* Homes are already being taken for shopping malls. On July 12, 2005, Sunset Hills, Mo., voted to allow the condemnation of 85 homes and small businesses. This is the first step in allowing the private Novus Development Corp. to use eminent domain against the property owners to build a planned $165 million shopping center and office complex. Also in Missouri, the City of Arnold plans to take 30 homes and 15 small businesses, including the Arnold Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post, for a Lowe’s and a strip mall.
And this really is just the tip of the iceberg. You can find details on the literally hundreds and hundreds of such cases around the country in this report from the Castle Coalition, organized state by state.