Robin Hood in Reverse - Cato Institute | Individual Liberty, Free

Robin Hood in Reverse - Cato Institute | Individual Liberty, Free

24 Pages · 2005 · 1.37 MB · English

Robin Hood in Reverse moral and humanitarian concerns at issue, heightened scrutiny test is not an adequate

Robin Hood in Reverse - Cato Institute | Individual Liberty, Free free download


The Fifth Amendment and most state constitu- tions prohibit government from condemning pri- vate property except for a “public use.” Traditionally, that has forbidden most condemnations that trans- fer property from one private owner to another. In recent years, however, many state courts have read “public use” more broadly to allow government to transfer property from one pri- vate owner to another simply because the latter is expected to make a greater contribution to the local economy. The most notorious of these deci- sions was the 1981 Poletowndecision, in which the Michigan Supreme Court allowed the City of Detroit to uproot some 4,200 people in order to make way for a General Motors plant. But last summer the Michigan Supreme Court overturned Poletown, just after the Connecticut Supreme Court had relied on that precedent to uphold economic development tak- ings in the case of Kelo v. City of New London . Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of the property owners. If the Court decides in favor of the homeowners, the resulting decision will constrain economic development condemnations nationwide. Federal and state courts should ban econom- ic development takings. Such takings are usually the product of collusion between large and pow- erful interests and government officials against comparatively powerless local residents. They generally produce far more costs than benefits, as the Poletown case dramatically demonstrates. Finally, the economic development rationale ren- ders nearly all property rights insecure because it can justify virtually any taking that benefits a pri- vate business interest. Robin Hood in Reverse The Case against Economic Development Takings by Ilya Somin ________________________________________________________________________\ _____________________________ Ilya Somin is assistant professor of law at the George Mason University School of Law. He was the author of an ami- cus brief for the Institute for Justice and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in County of Wayne v. Hathcock and is the author of an amicus brief for Jane Jacobs in Kelo v. City of New London. Executive Summary No.

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