Timothy Duggan, chair of the Condemnation group, was quoted in the article “State Courts Seek Wiggle Room Around Decision in Kelo” in the January 6 edition of the Wall Street Journal (paid registration required). The article discusses the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Kelo v. New London, which ruled that local governements can exercise the power of eminent domain, even if the land being taken ends up in private hands.
Mr. Duggan discussed how the ruling cast a shadow over a recent case in he was handling for Trenton residents where the city of Trenton attempted to expand an area of redevelopment to include their homes, calling the buildings in the area “substandard, unsafe, unsanitary, [and] dilapidated.” Fortunately, the court rejected the city’s attempt. “State courts now understand their role in protecting property rights,” said Mr. Duggan. He added given the unsettled statutory definition of blight, New Jersey courts in particular will be less likely to “rubber stamp” the conclusions of local planners.