Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


"The Great Equalizer"

Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy tells the Post Gazette that “Eminent domain ‘is a great equalizer when you’re having a conversation with people…'” Indeed it is.

Pictured is another “great equalizer.”

(Quote via John Tierney in “Your Land Is My Land,” in the New York Times.)

5 comments on ""The Great Equalizer""

  • Chris Walsh says:

    At least he didn’t paraphrase Mao — “power comes from the barrel of a gun government’s right to redistribute privately held real property”.
    I wonder what “equalization” the quoted individual could mean. In the recently-decided case, the more powerful interest was clearly the one which sought the taking, not the one from whom the property was taken, after all.

  • John Kelsey says:

    The article expresses surprise that the city hasn’t lost its enthusiasm for these eminent domain + urban planning mishaps, having failed and wasted tons of money so often. But this misunderstands the politicians’ motivations. It costs them nothing if they destroy someone else’s neighborhood, force someone else out of their home at bulldozer-point, or waste the taxpayers’ money on boondogles. But they do benefit from building monuments to themselves, and from having favors to hand out to developers.

  • adam says:

    Good point, but ideally, it might cost them votes to be bulldozing peoples’ houses.

  • I don’t understand why everyone is going nuts over Kelo. The 5th amendment is pretty clear, and the precedent seems straightforward (
    All joining opinions noted that local officials can do bad things, but maintain that local gov’t is the best judge of what constitutes “public use.” If not them, then who? Isn’t this what federalism is all about?

  • Adam says:

    You make two true statements: First, that the 5th is pretty clear, and second, that precendent is straightforward. Some of us think those should have a “but,” not an “and.”
    Public use is public use. Forts. roads. Not private development. This has been screwy since at least Poletown.
    Most Americans agree that, as Thomas said, “Something has gone seriously awry with this Court’’s interpretation of the Constitution.”

Comments are closed.