Masters of Eminent Domain


The good folks over at the DC-based Institute for Justice are fighting against eminent domain abuse--"when government takes land for private not public use"--in the Cincinnati suburb of Norwood. (Full disclosure: I'm an annual supporter of IJ, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit).

The Cincinnati Enquirer's take is here and is illustrative of how such stories are often portrayed in local press. Virtually the whole story is given over to the economic benefits (all estimated, of course, by the private developer and the local government); the protesters are relegated to the final three paragraphs of the piece. The main legal principle at issue--does eminent domain sanction the taking of private property so it can be given over directly to another private party?--disappears in a fog of rosy economic forecasts.

Despite such coverage, IJ has had a tremendous string of successes in such cases. Here's hoping they prevail in Norwood as well. IJ's take on the Norwood case is here.