Recall the Takings Clause of our 5th Amendment:
nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Now recall three critical Takings cases decided by the Supreme Court. Berman v Parker was a 1954 case in which the Supremes explicitly rewrote that clause to say for public purpose, not use. Hawaii Housing Authority v Midkiff was a 1984 case in which the Supremes ruled that it was perfectly fine for a State government to take private property away from a private enterprise and give it to private citizens who leased the property from the business. Kelo v City of New London was a 2005 case in which the Supremes said it was jake for a State government to seize a private citizen’s property and give it to a private business for that business’ purposes.
That last shameful ruling led to a large number of States passing their own laws or State Constitutional amendments severely restricting the conditions under which eminent domain can be used. The Federal government’s power as distorted by the Supremes in that trio of cases, however, remains the law.
This brings me to New York and New York City and amazon.com’s HQ2 move into the city.
In their bid for Amazon.com Inc’s second headquarters, New York City and state officials dangled prime real estate at the tech giant and offered to use eminent domain to scoop up any necessary properties for a campus, newly disclosed documents revealed Monday night.
These worthies planned the theft confiscation eminent domain seizures in four areas: Midtown West, lower Manhattan, along the Brooklyn waterfront, and Long Island City.
Such an offer wouldn’t have been possible except in the aftermath of Berman, Midkiff, and Kelo. This is the extent of the destruction of private property the Supremes have wrought.