Jacob Sullum on a New Jersey Decision That Invites Land Grabs
Two years ago, New Jersey's Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) approved something called the South Inlet Mixed Use Development Project, which was intended to "complement the new Revel Casino and assist with the demands created by the resort." Two months ago, the bankrupt Revel Casino closed.
The CRDA nevertheless is still trying to condemn a three-story brick house at 311 Oriental Avenue in Atlantic City as part of that Revel-inspired project, the details of which remain vague. In fact, the CRDA can't even say what it plans to do with the lot on which the house sits.
That's OK, according to Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez, who on Monday ruled that the CRDA may condemn first and answer questions later. Jacob Sullum says the ruling shows that no one's property is safe when eminent domain becomes unmoored from the "public use" that is supposed to justify it.