Oddly, in coverage of the Kelo Supreme Court decision that allowed jurisdictions in Connecticut to condemn private land for more lucrative (in terms of taxes) private development, the Republicans are getting credit in Virginian-Pilot and AP stories for righting this egregious wrong, whereas the reliably right wing Washington Times says both Dems and GOPers are decrying a decision that doesn’t seem like a good idea to most people. But is it really worth all the hand-wringing?
“The reality is, the ruling won’t affect communities in Virginia,” says Susan Bell, director of Arlington County’s department of community planning, housing and development. “We don’t have the enabling authority at the local level to use eminent domain for economic development.”
That doesn’t stop Del. Bob Marshall.
“We need to protect property rights from theft, no matter who does it. Putting black gowns on five attorneys and calling them the Supreme Court does not sanitize the odor of theft that is emanating from the New London decision,” Marshall said.
This Washington Business Journal story gives you probably more than you want to know about the impact of Kelo in the area, but as far as Virginia is concerned, it may be a non-issue, except for the demigods who would protect us from something that doesn’t threaten us.
…”As per the constitution of Virginia, public use in eminent domain is defined by the General Assembly,” says Emily Lucier, a spokeswoman for the state’s attorney general. “There is no proviso in our constitution to use eminent domain for economic development.”
That state attorney is a Republican, I might add. So the Republican AG is saying there’s no there there. Others agree.
..The Kelo ruling “has more relevance in Uzbekistan than in Virginia,” says Tom Newman, the director of the real estate group for Arlington County. “From our perspective, it’s not relevant.”
Marshall for Mayor of Tashkent, Uzbekistan! Has a nice ring to it, huh?