Arizona’s Supreme Court made an important ruling yesterday in rejecting Tempe’s special action in Tempe v. Valentine. The city of Tempe wished to condemn private land in order to build a shopping mall under the guise of "public use." There have been numerous cases across the country since the Kelo v New London ruling which stated "public use" equated to greater economic development. This dangerous ruling was commented on in dissent by Justice O’Connor when she said, "The specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory."
Luckily in Arizona their State Constitution "contains explicit protection for property owners, prohibiting the taking of private property for private use in most instances." Another protection was Baily v Myers an appellate court test case from 2003 which attempted to define "public use" as that in which public benefits "substantially predominateÃ¢â‚¬Â private benefits. The Goldwater Institute along with the NAACP Maricopa County Branch filed an amicus brief in support of the Bailey standard. It was a good day when the State Supreme Court upheld property rights which are fundamental to any free society.