Friday, January 20, 2006

Eminent Domain Run Amok

The city of Los Angeles used its power of eminent domain to take property from a furniture manufacturer, ostensibly for an animal shelter. Now, we learn from Ace of Trump, the city proposes to sell the property to another furniture manufacturer. Just by coincidence, I am sure, the potential acquirer has made contributions to the mayor, the city councilman who represents the area and who is leading the effort to convey the property, and the city attorney, who must give legal clearance to the switch.

The power of eminent domain is subject to abuse. One example of abuse is L.A.'s proposal to sell property to someone who will use condemned property for the same purpose as before the condemnation. It is also another example of why the U.S. Supreme Court needs to revisit its Kelo decision in order to limit eminent domain to a true public use.

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