Kelo v. City of New London
Kelo v. City of New London (2005) was a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that upheld a taking by government of private property (someone's home) in order to give the property to a private corporation. This decision federalized the recent state expansion of the concept of eminent domain from the limitation of "public use" (e.g., build a new courthouse or highway) to a much broader "public purpose" (e.g., obtain more tax revenue from a new business).
This decision opened the floodgates to any town that wants to increase tax revenues by taking people's homes and giving the property to big corporations that will pay increased taxes to the town. While the town has to pay "just compensation" for the property taken, that amount is rarely what the homeowner feels would be fair.
States can prevent this outcome by amending their constitutions, as Michigan and many other states have done.
In 2009, after forcing homeowners out of their residents and taking their property against their will, Pfizer then selfishly abandoned the project:
- The private homes that New London, Conn., took away from Suzette Kelo and her neighbors have been torn down. Their former site is a wasteland of fields of weeds, a monument to the power of eminent domain.
- But now Pfizer, the drug company whose neighboring research facility had been the original cause of the homes' seizure, has just announced that it is closing up shop in New London.