Despite the criticism of the Supreme Court’s eminent domain ruling in Kelo, the city of Auburn, New York appears undeterred and is threatening to invoke eminent domain to seize private property for a private company. The Kelo opinion was wrongly decided in allowing a Connecticut town to seize homes to give the land to a private company. Putting that flawed legal logic aside, I am astonished that elected officials continue to abuse eminent domain powers in this way and shows the need for state laws barring the practice. Mayor Mike Quill insists that the interests of the majority (and one powerful developer) must trump the property rights of a few citizens.
Ironically, after selling out their fellow citizens, the people of New London, Connecticut never did reap the rewards that they sought, here.
The city is threatening citizens that if they do not reach an agreement with a developer, the city will come in and take the land and give it to the developer.
Auburn Mayor Michael Quill admits “eminent domain, no one likes it.” Well . . . no they don’t, Mayor Quill, but particularly when you are coercing citizens to sell to powerful developers or face the seizure of their property by the city.
Quill insists that “we have a responsibility to the entire community . . . we have to look at the long range for the entire community.” That is hardly an excuse to use any means that benefits the majority. That would be a justification for everything from eminent domain to majoritarian terror. There are many acts that would benefit the majority by penalizing a few. That does not make it right or wise. The Supreme Court was wrong in its 5-4 decision in Kelo, but the fact that the city can do this act does not make it right to do it.
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