The Blog

In Kelo, Government Took Property for Project That Went Kaput

2:05 PM, Nov 9, 2009 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts


Susette Kelo, above, fought to keep her little, pink house in New London, Conn. for years, as the local government teamed up with a big business to muscle local homeowners off their property through eminent domain. The local government promised her property to Pfizer, so the company could put a new facility next to the land it already owned. Kelo took her case all the way to the Supreme Court, as her house became a lonely symbol as other neighborhood families were forced to give up the fight, because the government had the luxury of power and patience. When the Supreme Court ruled against Kelo, arguing that Pfizer's promise to bring revenue and jobs to New London constituted "public use," her house was demolished.

But today Pfizer has announced that they will not be using the land the government forced homeowners off of. Oops:

The private homes New London, Conn., took through eminent domain from Suzette Kelo and others, are torn down now, but Pfizer has just announced that it is closing up shop at the research facility that led to the condemnation.

Leading drugmakers Pfizer and Wyeth have merged, and as a result, are trimming some jobs. That includes axing the 1,400 jobs at their sparkling new research & development facility in New London.

To lure those jobs to New London a decade ago, the local government promised to demolish the older residential neighborhood adjacent to the land Pfizer was buying for next-to-nothing. Suzette Kelo fought the taking to the Supreme Court, and lost, as five justices said this redvelopment met the constitutional hurdle of "public use."

Well, the public certainly was used.

Susette Kelo's story: