by Brenée Goforth
Media Manager & Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
Fourteen years ago, the Supreme Court handed down one of its most unpopular opinions of all time, Kelo v. City of New London. The Kelo decision enshrined economic development as a valid purported “public use,” meaning, as JLF’s Jon Guze puts it,
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the use of eminent domain to take working class citizens’ homes and give the land to a private corporation for ‘high-end’ commercial development… In Kelo, the court held that, notwithstanding the ‘public use’ requirement implicit in Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause, state and local governments are free to transfer property from one private party to another as long as doing serves a ‘public purpose.’
For many states this is now a nonissue, as most states have changed their laws to protect their citizens from this abusive usage of eminent domain. However, because these reforms were left up to each individual state, some Americans are better protected than others. North Carolinians sadly, are not offered strong protections from eminent domain abuse by the existing law. Jon Guze states:
Unfortunately, North Carolina is one of the few states that hasn’t taken such steps, so it should matter to us. We need robust protection against eminent domain abuse in North Carolina, and, to its credit, ever since the Kelo decision was handed down in 2005, the N.C. House has been trying to ensure that we get it.
Read more from Jon Guze about how NC lawmakers should give North Carolinians the protections they deserve here.