The Kelo case was one of the most reprehensible Supreme Court decisions in recent history. The Court said it was okay for a local government to seize a private home solely to please a big corporation. So it is morbidly satisfying to see that the strategy has backfired for the town. Tim Carney reports for the Washington Examiner:
Susette Kelo’s little, pink house in New London, Conn. — like the houses of all her neighbors — is now a pile of rubble, overgrown with weeds. But Pfizer, the company that called for the demolition in order to build a new research and development plant, announced Monday it is packing up and leaving town in order to cut costs after its merger with fellow drug-giant Wyeth. New London now has a wasteland where a neighborhood once stood, and no jobs or business to show for it. It’s another travesty of central planning. …Kelo, and other residents who didn’t want to move, sued to block the condemnation. They lost, but they fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. There, the four liberal justices joined with moderate Anthony Kennedy to rule in favor of the developers — the takings were perfectly legal. …the takings in New London begin to sound like a great progressive victory: government, triumphing over the exploitive notion of “property rights,” helps the many at the expense of a few. But, New London was really another example of political cronyism and politicians using the might of government in order to benefit well-connected big business at the expense of those poorer and less influential. Consider that the head of the New London Development Corporation was Claire Gaudiani, who was married to David Burnett, the Pfizer executive who wanted “a nice place to operate.” Pfizer vice president George Milne also sat on the development corporation’s board. …Pfizer got its loot – free land, special tax breaks, and government-funded clean-up of the neighborhood (including clearing out the unsightly neighbors) – and the area prepared for economic “rejuvenation,” as Justice Stevens put it. It didn’t work out that way. The Fort Trumbull neighborhood Pfizer had bulldozed today consists only of “weeds, glass, bricks, pieces of pipe and shingle splinters,” according to the Associated Press.