Bloomberg.com | Government Power to Take Property Backed by Top Court
Local governments have broad power to take over private property to make way for shopping malls, office parks and sports stadiums, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled.

The court said government agencies can constitutionally take property in the name of economic development — and even transfer it to another private party — as long as the landowners receive compensation. The 5-4 ruling today came in a case involving land near a Pfizer Inc. plant in New London, Connecticut.

New London is seeking to raze a residential neighborhood to make room for a five-star hotel, luxury condominiums and office buildings near the Pfizer research facility. The city says it is trying to reverse decades of economic decline.

New London’s development plan, enacted in 2000, calls for the takeover of 115 homes and small businesses in the 90-acre Fort Trumbull neighborhood adjacent to the Pfizer facility.

If it wasn’t clear before, it is now: Collective rights are more important than individual rights. The framers of the Constitution really meant that offices are more important than homes, and that big offices are more important than small ones, because local government defines “more important” as “pay more taxes”.

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