Suzette Kelo and her infamous home

Kelo vs.  The City of New London was both  landmark case decided by the Supreme Court in 2005. In a 5/4 decision this CONSERVATIVE court decided that the city of New London could force Suzette Kelo to sell her house to the city so that they could sell it to a PRIVATE developer to build a project that would generate more tax revenues.  It has long been allowed for a government entity to take private property at a fair price for PUBLIC use but this case was the first to allow a government to choose one taxpayer over another.  Property rights advocates condemned this ruling.

Instead of paying whatever the market required to acquire the property for their project the developer enlisted the local government to buy the property at a lower price and practically give it to them, enticing the government with the higher tax revenue the project  would generate.  It takes very little imagination to imagine how this strategy could be abused. After this terrible ruling several states took action to block such abuse.

The developer was unable to complete the property and it is now a vacant lot. Suzette Kelo fought a long hard fight and lost and is only able to accept poetic justice that the City of New London will  realize no revenue from their grab of her house.

At Katie Nelson wrote Conn. land taken from homeowners still undeveloped, 9/25/11.


“In the end it was seven of us who fought like wild animals to save what we had,” she said. “I think that though we ultimately didn’t win for ourselves, it has brought attention to what they did to us, and if it can make it better for some other people so they don’t lose their homes to a Dunkin’ Donuts or a Wal-Mart, I think we did some good.”

Scott Bullock, senior attorney for the Institute for Justice, argued Kelo’s case before the Supreme Court. He calls “massive changes that have happened in the law and in the public consciousness” the “real legacy” of Kelo and the other plaintiffs.

The empty land means the city won a “hollow victory,” he said.

“What cities should take from this is to run fleeing from what New London did and do economic development that is market-driven and incorporate properties of folks who are truly committed to their neighborhood and simply want to be a part of what happens,” he said.

Tips to Bluegrass Pundit.