Turning the Tide

When the abuse of eminent domain is finally stopped, historians may look back on January 11 as the day that turned the tide in favor of American homeowners. Dozens of Castle coalition members and other Ohioans converged on Columbus to rally against eminent domain for private gain and to see Carl and Joy Gamble and Joe Horney get their day before the Ohio Supreme Court. The City of Norwood condemned the Gamble’s home and Joe’s rental home so that a private developer could build a complex of chain stores, condos, and office space. Although lower courts had rubber-stamped the City’s actions, the Gambles and Joe persevered, knowing that they weren’t just fighting for their rights, but for the rights of every person who’s ever been a victim of eminent domain abuse.

IJ Senior Attorney Dana Berliner argued the case – the first to be argued since the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous Kelo decision – before the Buckeye State’s highest court. She reminded the Court that the Ohio constitution, like other state constitutions, provides more protection of private property than the U.S. Supreme Court said the federal constitution provides. She also made it clear that, if the Ohio Supreme Court followed Kelo, there would be absolutely no protections for Ohio property owners against eminent domain abuse.

After the argument, the crowd that packed the courtroom gathered in a large meeting room in a nearby hotel to congratulate Dana on a job well done and to thank the Gambles and Joe for the courage they’ve displayed in the midst of enormous adversity. Win or lose – the Court will make its decision in the next few months – they are true American heroes.

Photo by Ben Schneider