High Court Sets Dangerous Precedent for the Protection of Property

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) voiced their disappointment with the Supreme Court’s decision in the Kelo v. New London, which ruled against a group of homeowners in Connecticut. In a 5-4 decision, the high court ruled against the property owners of a town in Connecticut, affirming the local government’s ability to seize private property for private development.

“The Supreme Court has misrepresented the importance of the Fifth Amendment, which entitles just compensation to take land for clear public use, such as roads or schools,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform. “The Fifth Amendment is not intended as the means for increased tax revenue from private enterprises at the expense of an individual’s property rights.”

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote the dissenting opinion for the court, arguing against the unconstrained authority of government to displace families and small businesses in order to accommodate developers. “The specter of condemnation hangs over all property,” stated the Justice in her opinion. She was joined by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Scalia and Thomas.

“Personal Property is the fundamental basis for liberty and prosperity in America and was recognized as such by our Founders,” continues Norquist. “Court decisions such as Kelo serve as examples of the necessity for constant protection of physical and intellectual property from government’s grips.”