Senator Guglielmo Expresses Displeasure with Supreme Court Decision

June 24, 2005

State Senator Tony Guglielmo, R- Stafford, today said that he is extremely troubled with yesterday’s 5-4 Supreme Court ruling that allows local government agencies to seize homes for private economic development purposes. The ruling is directly related to the City of New London’s venture to redevelop the Fort Trumbull area through private interests. Calling it the biggest Supreme Court ruling of the session, Sen. Guglielmo believes that the decision is a major defeat for homeowners throughout the nation.

“This ruling will have a monumental impact on the rights of homeowners everywhere,” said Sen. Guglielmo. “What this ruling basically says is that any city or town can take individual homes away from people and turn them over to private developers as long as the municipality can prove that the property will be used for economic development purposes. Expanding our eminent domain laws so that private developers can make money is a very disturbing and dangerous proposition. In my opinion this ruling walks all over the basic right of every American to own property.”

Sen. Guglielmo said he is urging legislative leaders to act during the current Special Session to protect innocent homeowners from private economic development ventures. He said that the seizure of property through eminent domain should be infrequent and that the law was created specifically for vital public works projects such as transportation, telecommunications and other utility projects, not for economic development purposes.

“We have an opportunity in the legislature to correct something I find to be very discriminatory,” said Sen. Guglielmo. “The government seizure of these homes rests in the fact that they are located in areas of the municipality that are less affluent. I agree wholeheartedly with Justice (Sandra Day) O’Connor in her dissent when she says ‘ all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded.'”

“We all want what is best for our communities and I understand local government leaders wanting to improve their downtown areas, but the right of homeownership in this country is one of the most important and precious rights we have under our constitution and we must protect that,” said Sen. Guglielmo.