Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Adding insult to injury: For those of you who have been closely following the Kelo case (where the Supreme Court eviscerated private property rights), I'm sure this will come as no surprise. For everyone else, this is outrageous.
In 2000, it condemned 15 homes so a developer could build offices, a hotel and convention center. Susette Kelo and her neighbors spent years in a legal battle that culminated in June, when the
U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against them.
That was painful enough. But while the homeowners were battling in court, New London was calculating how much "rent" they owe for living in the houses they were fighting to save. (The city's development corporation gained title to the homes when it condemned them, though the owners refused to sell and haven't collected a cent.)
The homeowners could soon be served with eviction notices, which is justified by the court ruling. But the rent is something else. For some, it comes to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Kelo, whose name is on the landmark case, could owe $57,000. "I'd leave here broke," she told the Fairfield County Weekly. "I could probably get a large-size refrigerator box and live under the bridge."
In a letter to the homeowners' lawyer a year ago, the development corporation justified its behavior by saying, "We know that your clients did not expect to live in city-owned property for free."
You read that right. In addition to losing their land, the homeowners are going to have to back rent (and lose all equity they earned) for the five years they spent fighting this case in the courts.
Now I don't just want Souter, Breyer and the rest of the justices who were in the majority in this case to lose their land to the very rule they created -- I want them bankrupted too.