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Eminent domain reform has bumpy road since Supreme Court ruling

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Wednesday marks the fifth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Kelo” ruling, which upheld the use of eminent domain for private economic development. Here’s a look at how much -or little – eminent domain laws have changed in our region since then.

Senior attorney Scott Bullock of the libertarian group “The Institute for Justice” has been researching changing eminent domain laws. He says some states have a long way to go in the fight against eminent domain abuse.

“New Jersey for instance, the legislature has completely refused to change its eminent domain laws even though it has some of the worst abuses of eminent domain in the country. Thankfully, New Jersey courts have stepped up and started to impose some real limitations on the use of eminent domain for private development.”

Bullock says a report he authored highlights a Delaware business owner who led a fight against the city of Wilmington in response to property threats, which resulted in strong eminent domain reform legislation.

Pennsylvania passed what Bullock calls “middling” eminent domain reform which he says is stronger than other state laws but could still use some work.

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