States continue to feel the force of the Supreme Court's 2005 Kelo ruling affirming the constitutional right of governments to "take" private property for transfer to private developers in comprehensively planned projects aimed at eliminating blight and increasing tax revenues.
Although the furor has subsided--only a few measures appeared on 2008 ballots or came before state legislatures--the issue of condemning homes and small businesses for private development is still simmering throughout the country.
Widespread hostility to the court's 5-to-4 decision fueled legislation in more than 40 states, a dozen state ballot measures in November 2006 and a slew of local propositions.
State and local ballot measures played a distinctive role in focusing public opinion, developing a general consensus about tighter definitions of blight and restraint in condemning private homes, and pushing back efforts to combine broader anti-regulatory language with eminent domain reform.
Elections in 2008 saw voters adopt a moderate California...