Saturday, June 25, 2005

State May Change Eminent Domain Laws

Blumenthal Supported New London Decision

There's a possibility (although not a very strong one right now) of the state changing eminent domain laws in the wake of the Kelo v. New London decision released Thursday by the U.S. Supreme Court:

Mrs. Rell, a Republican, issued a cautious response to the closely watched court ruling, one that found economic development, not just blight removal, an appropriate use of the government's power of eminent domain
"The governor said it is an issue the legislature ought to consider," said Dennis Schain, Mrs. Rell's spokesman. (Stowe)

Robert Ward, the House Minority Leader, was less cautious in his response:

Robert M. Ward, a Republican who is the House minority leader, said he was "deeply disappointed" by the court's ruling. Mr. Ward said he will introduce legislation in the next session of the General Assembly in February to protect property owners from losing their homes or businesses in the name of economic development.

Mr. Ward tried to get a similar bill adopted in the last legislative session. It would have removed the economic development provision from the state's eminent domain laws, allowing the government to seize only blighted property. He said Utah adopted a similar bill in March. The Connecticut bill died in committee. (Stowe)

This is a good idea and ought to be done as soon as possible. Using eminent domain to take private property for private economic development is an abuse of government power, and should not be classified as acting in the interest of the public.

Democratic leaders around the state have been eerily quiet about the decision, except for one:

On Thursday, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, first praised the court's decision as "vindicating long established eminent domain principles." He tempered his remarks on Friday, saying Connecticut's eminent domain law "deserves serious, critical scrutinizing" to ensure that it protects private property rights. (Stowe)

A masterful job of backpedaling. No word out of either the DeStefano or the Malloy campaigns about the decision, and the legislative leadership has also been mute. Why are state Democrats so quiet about this? They shouldn't be; they run the risk of being seen as against private property rights. Something like that could very well make Connecticut Republicans relevant again.

Stowe, Stacey. "Rell Seeks Legislative Review of Ruling on Eminent Domain." New York Times 25 June, 2005.


FrankS said...

Here's Rell's finger in the wind moment, she says and does nothing.

Ward and Blumenthal each have taken positions, Ward through the proposed legislation and Blumenthal's 2004 comments filed in the case. (Link:

Pokey and cautious are simply terms that Rell should use when looking in the mirror.

Eddie said...

I wonder if DeStefano and Molloy were both faced with eminent domain issues, made decisions that, uh, seemed good at the time, and aren't in a position to say a whole lot about it now. I don't know one way or another, not knowing the situations in their home bases well enough, but maybe that's one explanation for their quietude.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with what franks said about Rell's finger in the wind. I emailed her right after the decision and got the most idiotic, one the one side and on the other side, response imaginable. The woman is useless; totally, utterly useless. I wouldn't be surprised if she had never heard of the case before the Supreme Court ruled, busy as she is granting interviews to a fawning press and preparing for the open house. Maybe when the legislature gets around to looking at eminent domain laws in this state, taxpayers could get an explanation of what exactly happened to the $73 million of state taxpayer money that has already been poured into this boondoggle. I know for a fact that some of the money was used to pay the salaries of the members of the New London Development Corporation. Rich, huh? Property owners all across this state had their own tax dollars spent on the salaries of the very people who have just undermined those same people's private property rights. Nice work if you can get it.
The whole thing is a disgrace. Sheila M Blanchet, Guilford