George Liebmann: There is another way to settle ‘eminent domain’ debate

WASHINGTON – The recent election has seen states adopt constitutional amendments reversing the recent Kelo decision allowing New London, Conn., to condemn private homes for purposes of development.

That decision was applauded by city officials, and was decried by many conservatives, including some seeking to ban all redistributive government activity. A dialogue of the deaf, similar to that in the abortion and “gay rights”controversies, is under way: A judicial decision ignites extravagant political responses; arguments are cast as absolutes, and underlying problems are not rationally discussed.

Certainly, cities have not benefitted from “the federal bulldozer.”The condemnation of owner-occupied homes so that land can be handed over to developers is wrong. But it is a fact that inner cities do not spontaneously regenerate.

Because of the splintering of lots and the complication of titles, private land assembly is a difficult process; developers are held to ransom by “hold-outs

Posted in: Markets and Privatization, News Series