Kick 'Em While They're Down
Rich, white property owners are disproportionately hurt by eminent domain abuse.
A new report from the Institute for Justice looked at 184 areas where the use of eminent domain was approved for private economic development projects. On average, the residents were poorer, less educated, less likely to own property, and more likely to be racial minorities.
Such differences are not only not surprising; they are pretty much inevitable if the criterion for condemning a property is whether it can be put to a "higher use"—i.e., one that generates more tax revenue or creates more jobs. As Justice Sandra Day O'Connor noted in her dissent from the Supreme Court's endorsement of such takings in Kelo v. New London, "extending the concept of public purpose to encompass any economically beneficial goal guarantees that these losses will fall disproportionately on poor communities."