The Supreme Court ruled, in a 5-4 decision (with O'Connor as a dissenter, even), that cities and municipalities may take private land for commercial development, with Justice Stevens saying local officials, not federal judges, know best in deciding whether a development project will benefit the community. I have a lot of trouble with this. I am a strong believer in the right to own property, and when I see a government of any size taking one person's property against their wishes when that person is not in default of a loan or something similar, I shudder. This tells me that I do not own my own property, rather I get to stay there until someone with more money and a more appealing plan on what to do with that land comes along and sweet talks the people in power. This was a bad decision.
Prior to this decision, municipalities could only use the takings clause for a reason related to a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas, the article notes. Now, the city can take your property to open a Wal-Mart, to increase the tax base and create more money for the city, in the meantime, running you out of your home, and destroying all the memories that you and your family built in that little piece of the American Dream. Bad Decision. Bad.
Bookworm also recently posted on this same issue. Her comments are here.