Eminent Development

By Molly Ivins

At least they're more in touch with reality than a majority of the Supreme Court. The justice who nailed this one was Sandra Day O'Connor, bless her. She wrote in dissent: "The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms. As for the victims, the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more. The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result." The court ruled 5-4 that local governments may use the power of eminent domain to confiscate private homes and turn them over to private developers, who will make more profitable use of them, tax-wise. The case came out of New London, Conn., a city that has lost tens of thousands of jobs and has an unemployment rate twice that of the rest of the state.