Via the Seattle Time: High Court To Rule On Right To Seize Private Property.

Increasingly, in towns and cities across the nation, local governments are seizing and demolishing private homes to assemble large tracts of land needed for economic-development projects.

Homeowners say their constitutional right to own private property is being violated. Local officials counter that their actions are permitted by the Constitution and necessary to ensure the long-term prosperity of their communities.

Today, the Supreme Court takes up a potential landmark case that asks the justices to strike the proper balance between the right to own private property and the government’s power to seize that same property for a broader public good. How a majority of justices strike that balance will define the scope of property rights in America, perhaps for generations, analysts say.

“Cities have been going along with almost no guidance from the Supreme Court for almost half a century,” said Dana Berliner, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice in Washington. “Whatever the justices say is going to have a large impact.”