PERSPECTIVE

A controversial landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2005 for the first time allowed a city to force unwilling owners to sell private property, not for a school, police station or other traditional municipal necessity, but just because a developer promised to improve the neighborhood. Consequently, longtime residents like Susette Kelo were forced off their land because the city of New London, Conn., had hopes of a prosperous buildup anchored by a new facility from drugmaker Pfizer. The Weekly Standard magazine reported in February that, nine years down the road, Pfizer has backed out, and the 90-acre area of New London in which Kelo and others were bulldozed from is waist-high in weeds — an even worse blight than that which New London sacrificed private property rights to prevent.

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