Property Rights

How Eminent Domain Transformed a Nice Neighborhood into a Dump


You seriously cannot make this stuff up. New London, Connecticut, the municipality that received the Supreme Court's notorious stamp of approval in 2005 to bulldoze Susette Kelo's neighborhood to make way for a "comprehensive redevelopment plan" that would provide "appreciable benefits to the community" is now using that seized land as a dump site for storm debris. Click here for the original story from The Day, which includes a video of local residents enjoying the "appreciable benefits" of New London's eminent domain abuse by dropping off some tree branches.

Link via Timothy Sandefur of the Pacific Legal Foundation, who observes, "How's that eminent domain/redevelopment thing working out for ya?"

NEXT: More Apparent Evidence Tampering From Michael West, Bite Mark "Expert"

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Hmm, they managed to actually put the land to use. Good enough for government work.

    1. The sad thing is, that’s actually true. This fallow land is doing nothing; at least now it’s helping people affected by Hurricane Irene.

      The failed housing development hasn’t been declared a city dump (which is absolutely what this dishonest headline implies). If they wanted to build a new development there next week, it’s not like some dead foliage would prevent that.

      Anyway, eminent domain still sucks. Even if they’d made a big, fancy, successful housing development there, it still would have been BS. It’s nice and cute to have this “dump” headline, but eminent domain for private industry is always wrong, regardless of results.

      [Not that I like it for actual public use, but at least I can see how that argument can be made.]

      1. this dishonest headline

        Oh grow up!

  2. This all started when hunter-gatherers moved into Agri[BUS]iness…

  3. Public: You got some ‘splainin to do1
    New London: WAAAAAAAAAAH!

    1. xxx do1 = do!

  4. From Thomas’ Kelo dissent-

    When faced with a clash of constitutional principle and a line of unreasoned cases wholly divorced from the text, history, and structure of our founding document, we should not hesitate to resolve the tension in favor of the Constitution’s original meaning.

    Some days Judge Thomas feels like he’s all that’s left between logic and insanity in this country.

    And then of course on other days I want to strangle him.

  5. Of course, this will not be reported on in any significant way.

  6. Eminent domain should be stricken from the constitution. There is no libertarian justification for it.

    1. ROADS!!!

      1. I used to think so, too.

  7. But if eminent domain isn’t to create space intended for development but used to dump debris, where will people dump debris?

  8. oops, typing fail. let me try that again:

    But if eminent domain isn’t used to create space intended for development, but actually used to dump debris, where will people dump debris?

  9. Dare I ask how many of the New London City Councillors who supported this plan are still in office or holding some higher office?

  10. How can they tell? New London was already a dump.

  11. Maybe if a couple of selfish holdouts hadn’t been tying the community up in court for years they would have been able to get the project done.

    It’s like that dog that stood in front of the hay and barked at the horses until the hay rotted, and then made fun of them because when they finally got to eat it it was rotten.

    1. Oh those awful people! Who did they think they were, fighting to defend their homes and all?

      I mean, they were just doing it to get in the way of the townships ever-so-altruistic politicians doing favors for to powerful.

      The shame.

    2. Agreed. If all those fucking protestors hadn’t shown up over the Iraq war, we’d have won it DAYS (Ok, maybe WEEKS).

      The Dems have nobody but themselves to blame for us being there longer than a month.

    3. Maybe if politicians hadn’t wanted to take their land to give to a multinational with deep pockets for reasons that had fuck-all to do with public use in any limiting sense this wouldn’t have been an issue.

      See, here’s the thing: Pfizer didn’t vanish. Pfizer went through consolidation, and decided to pull out of New London when its tax breaks expired because that was always an option. No one poisoned the land — it’s not rotten or any less profitable than it would have been, as your full-retard analogy would suggest — it’s just that Pfizer chose to pull out. It’s still available for redevelopment.

      1. But no longer available for the original owner to… plant flowers on, or sit in a swing and watch the sunset or… whatever a private landowner might choose to do with their private land…


        1. My point is just that even if we throw out all the libertarian ideology, the only things that happened over that time span was a housing market downturn and a merger, both of which would have happened anyway. The litigation was done by the city on Pfizer’s behalf. The land is exactly how they wanted it. In other words, the city could have seized the “blighted” land via eminent domain from more obedient citizens and handed it over to Pfizer, who could have left anyway.

          It was a stupid deal not just for its profound immorality, but the economic consequences were awful too.

  12. Sounds like public use to me.

  13. They crapped on her rights so they could take a dump on her property.

    1. That sounds like the tag line from next year’s feel-good summer blockbuster, ripped from the headlines. Ahem.

      1. “They crapped on her rights so they could take a dump on her property…
        They didn’t count on what would happen when Susie got mad!! “

        George Clooney as the planner compromised by big CORPORATIONS.
        Johnny Depp as the lone, brave bureaucrat willing to fight impossible odds for the woman he has grown to love. And plant bombs for.
        Angelina Jolie, as Susie, the woman seeing her house be taken away – but not before she plants more bombs. Bombs that assplode!

        In theaters as soon as the studio can cobble together an edit that’s not total shit.

        1. Susie and the bulldozer transform into giant robots and demolish the many skyscrapers of New London while fighting each other.

        2. ahem……..
          It’s not Susie, it’s Suzette

  14. While it is nice to see an eminent domain abuse fail as it may deter future abuses, we should be careful not to base our argument on that factor. Otherwise, eminent domain abuses that “succeed” may be used to bolster future claims. The evil of eminent domain must be resisted on constitutional and legal grounds, not on anecdotal evidence.

    1. It must be resisted using all available evidence. To that extent, we should point out the frequency with which it fails to yield its purported public benefit, unless our plan is to win everyone over to the non-aggression principle. Proponents will cite successes no matter what — the principle that your land is really held by the Crown is hardly defensible without appealing to consequences — so opponents should be willing to turn that around.

      1. It’s not so much that the eminent domain plan failed, it’s that by the time the litigation was finished, the housing bubble had collapsed.

        So if this hadn’t been litigated, we could have had a bunch of nice, brand new houses all sitting empty or in foreclosure by now. But at least somebody would have been employed building those empty houses and making those loans.

        This suddenly sounds like some kind of federal/stimulus program…

        1. No…they would have been left with an empty Pfizer building sitting right next to the demolished neighborhood. They wouldn’t have started building the houses until the Pfizer building was started and the infrastructure laid out: water/sewer lines, power, entrances and roads, etc.

          But in a way, you’re right. A bunch of out-of-state contractors would have already started working on something by that point.

        2. “It’s not so much that the eminent domain plan failed”

          Yes. It IS so much that it failed.


        3. “by the time the litigation was finished, the housing bubble had collapsed”

          I read this to mean “if you are being raped, don’t resist because it just makes the rape last longer. If the rape was unpleasant, it was your fault for resisting.”

          Stupid fuck.


      2. As a Quentin Tarantino character inevitably says in every movie: “interesting point”

  15. Wait, what’s this article have to do with Eminem?

    1. The real Stimulus Shady didn’t stand up.

  16. Having lived in “Corrupticut” at the time I remember this well.
    As memory serves, New London’s justification for taking the properties (aside from the increased tax revenues) was that it was “blighted”. Am I the only one who finds that sadly ironic?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.