In the case of Kelo, the decision allowed for the City of New London to take property using eminent domain and allow for development by a large business. As often happens in economic development, however, the plans for Pfizer to develop a large corporate complex on the property fell through and as of March of this year the property remained undeveloped, grown up in weeds despite the huge costs the case brought to the citizens of New London, including Ms. Kelo herself. The result of the court decision did create an impetus to counter it by local and state statutes in many parts of the country, but the message it sent was frightening. And with so many things done by government today on behalf of lobbyists and special interests, small private interests need to be ever vigilant in demanding the Constitution be upheld.
I write about this because of a situation recently in New Orleans that impacted a couple who bought an old and dilapidated townhouse with plans to turn it into a modern townhouse they could rent or sell. And it was at this point that the City of New Orleans made a huge mistake which they still haven't admitted or corrected, resulting in David and Lourdes Garrett needing to take the city to court. This is a story that can't be made up, yet it's just another small example of why I say private property rights are so tenuous.
Not long after the purchase was completed and recorded, the city sent a bulldozer to the property and demolished it. The Garretts learned of what happened when they went to check the property and were shocked. They reported the matter to the city and then, within a few days, they received a bill for nearly eleven thousand dollars for the demolition. But it even gets much worse.
It seems that New Orleans was the landowner of record of the property from 1998 to 2015 when they sold it to the Garretts, so if they had conducted due process before the demolition they would have realized it wasn't abandoned. Not only that but when the Garretts bought the property, the sale did not include a defects or danger clause. Additionally, the city sent the required notice of pending demolition to a previous owner from the early 1990s; the Garretts were never notified and they were given no opportunity to respond prior to the building being leveled.
The city is clearly in the wrong yet they still refused to budge and now the Pacific Legal Foundation (PCF) has requested that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rule on it. Prior to the current action, a lower federal court referred the Garretts to state courts, yet Louisiana courts have a terrible track record on such cases, hence the submission to the higher court. The city is fighting the action saying that the Garretts have no right to circumvent the legal system. PCF says they certainly do if the Garretts are to receive justice. Hopefully, the fifth circuit will agree.
This is just another example of how private property rights are abused routinely and the Kelo decision played a big part in setting that standard. Whether it's at the local, state or federal level, the problem is a large one. And now that the New World Order has stuck it's swollen head into sovereign nation issues, there is rapidly becoming no limit to the reach of government. That's the reason why I wrote Thou Shall Not Take Our Land. It's time for us all to be awake and if a fictional example helps with that goal, so much the better.
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