26 February 2010

Blight Is What We Say It Is

In the aftermath of the Kelo decision, governments piously claim they respect private property, while applying legal definitions so broadly as to make any self-imposed restrictions of eminent domain meaningless.

Government continues to undermine private property. What I find so disturbing is not just the complete lack of concern over property rights among local governments, but that the courts are happy to be their accomplices.

Even at my most cynical, this rank power and property grabbing, still dissapoints me. That judges identify so much more with their fellow politicians than with the citizens should no longer surprise me. I guess they want to think of themselves as the elite, just like everyone else. To paraphrase Fitzgerald, the politicians are different than you and me.

Volokh Conspiracy: Nicole Gelinas on Blight Condemnations in New York

Unfortunately, New York is far from the only state that defines blight broadly enough to justify the condemnation of almost any area.

As I discuss here and here, numerous other states have similar laws.

This enables many state legislatures to pretend that they have banned Kelo–style “economic development” condemnations even as they allow them to continue under the guise of alleviating blight.

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