After Court Ruling, Religious Institutions May Be Vulnerable; Local Governments Have Power to Seize Property

June 24, 2005

Source: Beliefnet

Wire Service: RNS

On June 24, 2005 Religion News Service reported, "Religious institutions may be more vulnerable to takeover through eminent domain after Thursday's (June 23) Supreme Court ruling that gives local governments greater power to seize properties for private economic development, according to some religious and civil rights advocacy groups. Churches, mosques, synagogues and other nonprofit religious entities are considered especially at threat because they generate no tax revenue for cities, while developments like hotels or shopping malls are seen to be economic boons for urban renewal projects... The close 5-4 decision in Kelo et al v. City of New London was made citing rights given to municipalities by the Fifth Amendment, which allows them to seize private properties for public use, in exchange for just compensation to the owner. The high court said economic development, especially in blighted areas, is an appropriate 'public use' rationale for seizing property."