Thursday, March 20, 2008

Kelo Decision Comes to Missouri

In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States of America dealt a major blow to individuals personal property rights. In what's become known as the Kelo decision, the court in a 5-4 split found that city governments were within their rights to seize private property for the purposes of reselling the property to a third party on the grounds that third party might generate more tax revenue for the city. Needless to say many people dispute that such abuses of eminent domain are taking private property "for public use" as the fifth amendment dictates. Plus, we now know that the public economic benefit promised by supporters of the Kelo decision never materialized.

Now the battle over private property rights has been brought to Sugar Creek.

The Missouri Supreme Court overturned a lower court decision that would have blocked state and local governments from using eminent domain for private development. Many of the home owners in the area in dispute have already sold their homes to the city. The others were holding out hoping the court's ruling would affirm the lower courts and help them to keep their homes or at the very least allow them to receive a fair market price for their property. Unfortunately for them things did not go their way.

Perhaps the Sugar Creek residents should take a page from the playbook of other private property advocates and try to get the city's mayor's home taken under eminent domain to build a hotel or some other tax producing entity.

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