The story most dripping with irony in today’s news comes out of New London, Conn., the setting for the famous — or infamous — Kelo v. New London property-rights ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Kelo, you may recall, said cities could use the power of eminent domain to seize property for economic redevelopment — even if the properties are not blighted. The case became a cause celebre in conservative circles, and state lawmakers across the country rushed to enact laws barring such actions.
Well, The New York Times reports today that the New London economic development scheme that spurred the legal case has gone bust. The big drug company the scheme helped lure to New London is leaving town, taking 1,400 jobs with it. The company will move its big research office just as the special tax breaks the city gave it begin to expire.
And the adjacent area that was cleared of homes to attract new development remains empty. Susette Kelo, who lost her home in all the legal machinations, is understandably bitter.
Republican legislators in Washington made a run at restricting eminent domain powers here. But as I recall, Democrats resisted, contending the GOP proposals went too far.
Can anyone update us on how the battle over eminent domain legislation in Olympia ultimately turned out?