Stopping the Bulldozers

Posted on July 01, 2005
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The bulldozers are revving their engines.

Emboldened by the June 23 U.S. Supreme Court ruling permitting governments to take private property in the name of higher tax revenue, cities from Connecticut to Missouri to Texas are moving to build shopping centers and hotels where homes now stand.

Fortunately, bulldozers in Arizona may be stopped in their tracks. The Arizona Constitution declares, "Private property shall not be taken for private use." A recent Arizona court ruling affirms that "the constitutional requirement of 'public use' is only satisfied when the public benefits and characteristics of the intended use substantially predominate over the private nature of that use."

Some officials, like Mesa mayor Keno Hawker, have expressed a desire to see private property rights protected. But officials in several other Arizona cities, including Chandler, Tempe, and Phoenix have indicated they intend to move forward with projects that rely on taking private property.

Those cities will come face-to-face with the Institute for Justice, which has successfully defended home and business owners against such takings in the past. As IJ executive director Tim Keller writes, "The institute is in the business of suing bureaucrats who overstep their constitutional bounds."

To get hands-on, check out the Castle Coalition's "Hands Off My Home" campaign.

Key Links:
- Arizona Republic: "Private Property Ruling Stirs Concerns"
-Tim Keller: "Private-property ruling opens door to abuses"
- Wall Street Journal: "Leviathan"
-Castle Coalition: Hands Off My Home

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