Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Worst recent Supreme Court decision now wasted: Pfizer abandons New London

Few things convinced me that this country has gone completely off the rails more than did Kelo v. City of New London: the horrendous decision by the Supreme Court in 2005.

To recap: the city of New London, Connecticut set about in the late Nineties to use eminent domain to seize the land of private homeowners... so that it could lure big companies like pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to the area and sell them the same property! It was the very worst example of stealing from Peter to give to Paul.

How did the elected officials of New London justify this outrageous action? By claiming that seizing the property of Suzette Kelo and other homeowners and giving it to major industry, that they would be building up the tax base of New London. It was for a "public good", ya see. At least that's how they described it.

Suzette Kelo and her neighbors took New London to court. And it reached all the way to the United States Supreme Court. And on June 23rd 2005 the Supremes ruled 5 to 4 that... New London and any municipality has the right to seize private land and sell it to other private interests!

(The five idiots - I don't dare refer to them as "honorable Justices" - who voted for this were Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer.)

So New London seized all of the property, bulldozed the houses into rubble, and went ahead with its plans to sell the land to Pfizer.

And now, Pfizer is abandoning New London, Connecticut entirely.

All that New London has to show for its efforts is a field strewn with rubble and waste. Suzette Kelo and the rest wound up with nothing at all.

If there is no such thing as respect for property rights in this country, then there is no respect for rights at all. Kelo v. City of New London had already demonstrated that. Pfizer moving out is in many ways New London adding insult to injury.

Will the lesson be heeded by others? Probably not.