Today the Supreme Court ruled that city and other local governments can take your house for pretty much any reason as long as it fits some local ex-student coucil president's idea of "the public good." Basically, the Court decided that local governments are allowed to use eminent domain to take people's homes and businesses, even if they aren't blighted, for "public use." Local governments have been pulling this kind of crap for a long time, but this is the first time the Supreme Court has given such a broad definition of eminent domain.
I understand that there are times when eminent domain may be the necessary last option in order to build something that truly is in the public's best interest. Roads, or dams, or even a hospital might be projects that I would think could fall under the definition of the public good. Even the careful redevelopment of a "blighted area" could be a reasonable case for using eminent domain. I can also appreciate that progress must sometimes include the violation of certain people's rights when no other options remain. But the Court has essentially given big business and investors, and the local governments that court them (no pun intended), a green light to ruin people's lives and happiness so they can bring Americans another Walmart or Target or, in the case of the Connecticut residents who took their case to the High Court, a fucking hotel.
The Court ruled today that local governments are in a far better position to decide what is in the best interests of their citizens than a federal judge. The problem is that local governments are far more corruptable than a federal judge, and stand to gain financially and otherwise by allowing and using a wide definition of the public good. Meanwhile average Joe's right to pursue happiness, not to mention his whole way of life, can be uprooted and destroyed because a small group of people would rather have hotel or a shopping mall instead of his house or farm. I find it hard to believe that a shopping mall, or a hotel, is ever more important than the property rights of an individual. In a day and age when our rights are constantly being chipped away, we need the Supreme Court to defend them, to ensure that the Constitution remains strong and protective of our rights and property. The High Court sadly failed in that duty today, to the greater peril of us all.