January 11, 2007

The Post-Kelo World

Today an article from Wall Street Journal's editorial page highlighted Kelo's lasting implications for eminent domain. It presents the story of the seven Strobel sisters of Burien, Wash., whose popular diner was condemned because it was not upscale enough to harmonize with the city's new development plans. Despite the clear provision in the Washington Constitution that "private property shall not be taken for private use (except in very limited circumstances)," the Washington Court of Appeals affirmed the decision to condemn.
"Washington state stands as evidence that a strong state constitution means little if the courts do not enforce it and local governments disregard it."
Decisions such as Kelo reflect a judiciary who dangerously interprets the constitution on matters better reserved for the legislative process. It is the job of the courts to demand government compliance with state and federal constitutions, not create policies which undermine constitutional rights.