(John Kerr of The Washington Post) – First they tried to seize his property. Then they tried to shut him up about it.
But Bob Wilson refused to be a quiet victim of government injustice. And his ordeal in Norfolk represents a confluence of issues involving free speech and property rights, one that offers the Supreme Court an opening to defend some of our nation’s most cherished founding principles.
Wilson owns Central Radio Co., a communications and engineering firm that has been part of Norfolk’s landscape since 1934. But that commitment to the community didn’t stop the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority from threatening to seize his land and building in 2010 to turn them over to Old Dominion University.
While many of the targeted property owners in the area agreed to sell, Wilson and a handful of others resisted. The holdouts faced an uphill struggle, given the Supreme Court’s infamous 2005 Kelo v. New London decision, which adopted an expansive interpretation of the government’s power to take private property by eminent domain.
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