Property Rights

Casino Reinvestment Development Authority v. Birnbaum

Atlantic City should lose its gamble to take private property rights

Charlie Birnbaum’s family lives in Atlantic City. A casino coveted their land so the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) decided to take the Birnbaums’ home and give it to the casino, ostensibly to benefit the state’s economy. Birnbaum sued because giving his property to a privately-owned casino is not a legitimate reason for the government to take his land – government may only take land (with compensation) for a “public use.” The trial court agreed with Birnbaum. The state appealed and PLF filed an amicus brief arguing that government speculation about “economic development” is not a public use that justifies taking a private home and transferring it to a different private owner.

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