Monday, August 07, 2006

Kelo at the state level

The Ohio State Supreme Court recently ruled that condemnation to support private development can not be based on economic benefits alone (Note the court did not hold that such condemnation was impermissible, just that it needed something other than purported economic benefits to justify it.).  Advocates such as Dana Berliner of the Institute for Justice immediately announced that this was a refutation of the U.S. Supreme Court's Kelo decision.  Of course these are the same people who screamed the SCOTUS was making new government authority when it decided Kelo.  Wrong on both counts.

The SCOTUS did not create the authority; the states did, in the early days of the Republic, and municipalities have been pushing the envelope of this authority for the last, several decades.  What the SCOTUS held was that the U.S. Constitution did not prohibit states from giving municipalities such authority.  In other words, the SCOTUS held that scope of condemnation authority is a state matter.  The Ohio Supreme Court's decision is in reality an affirmation of Kelo.


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