Early this month, the United States House of Representatives passed the Private Property Rights Protection Act bill, in an effort to “minimize abuses of the government’s condemnation power." Ever since the infamously unjust 2005 condemnation involving Susette Kelo’s home in New London, Connecticut, Congress has developed over a dozen anti-Kelo bills to protect private property owners in the United States.
Kelo v. City of New London consisted of a government condemnation of Ms. Kelo’s home and the homes of her neighbors to make way for a multimillion-dollar redevelopment project which promised over 3,100 new jobs and $1.2m in tax revenues annually. With terrible irony it should be remembered that the redevelopers were unable to receive the necessary financing and finally gave up, and where Kelo’s home once stood is now a waste dump.
Why did five of the nine Supreme Court justices vote for the condemnation of Kelo’s home, agreeing that the redevelopment project showed proof of “public use"? The reasoning behind that decision has prompted much discussion and debate for several years, and has brought attention to eminent domain proceedings across the county as condemning authorities continue to rely upon the decision in Kelo to support scandalous takings for economic development or public benefit, allowing “ certain condemners and their developer partners to abuse the power of eminent domain" over and over again.
This new bill will likely bring debate over condemnation as a proper tool in the government’s effort to promote redevelopment to economically challenged areas. Private property owners hope that Kelo won’t happen again in the United States, and that the private individual right to personal property will be further protected.