Opening the Floodgates

One year ago today, the U.S. Supreme court ruled on the Kelo decision, confirming that governments could use their eminent domain powers to take private property and hand it over to private developers for private use. All that was needed was the thinnest of public use justifications, such as that the new owners would use the property in a way which generated greater tax revenue.

In just the past year, more than 5,700 properties nationwide have been threatened by or taken with eminent domain for private development–a figure that compares with more than 10,000 examples over a five-year period preceding the Kelo argument[.]

That’s from an announcement about four new reports just issued by the Institute for Justice and the Castle Coalition.

I’m particularly interested in Opening the Floodgates: Eminent Domain Abuse in the Post-Kelo World which compiles information about a bunch of properties threatened by eminent domain for private use, including a few right here in Illinois. The first one, on page 36, discusses the International Plaza shopping center, which I blogged about last fall.

Best of all, it includes this picture of the mall:

International Plaza
Larger ImageInternational Plaza

I took that picture for my blog entry—I can even see where my car is parked—and an intern at the the Institute for Justice emailed me a couple of weeks ago asking me if they could use it.

That’s just cool.

(Get all the reports from http://www.castlecoalition.org/kelo/index.html, but be warned that they are huge PDF files.)

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