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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

"Public Use" Is Giving Wealthy People Your Shore Home

Reason's interview with attorney Scott Bullock of the Institute for Justice, who represented the plaintiffs in Kelo v New London, mentioned some imminent property take-overs. The following is one of the scariest instances of the new power of the government over citizens:

Reason: Can you give some examples of other eminent domain abuses among the 10,000 cases you guys have cited?

SB: I'll give you one primary example that's brewing in Long Branch, New Jersey right now, where a group of people want to hang on to their working-class beach homes. They've worked very hard to get their modest bungalows along the shore. These houses were purchased by working class folks in Newark and other places, and now many of the elderly residents live there full-time; these are their dream homes. And the City of Long Branch is just proposing taking these people's homes and transferring them to wealthier home-owners. They want to tear them down and build million-dollar condominiums for people right along the shore in northern New Jersey. And so it's a case of taking the property of poorer folks and giving it to wealthier folks, and using it for the same purpose. It's just a transfer of wealth between home owners. It's a classic example of eminent domain abuse and one that I think will be litigated in the very near future.

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