In June, I posted some comments about the Supreme Court's opinion in Kelo v. New London. In general, I thought that Kelo was a sensible decision. Of course, while I believe that it is appropriate to use the condemnation power to advance public planning goals, like all public power, I recognize that the condemnation power can be applied corruptly.
Kelo has been the subject of fairly broad criticism from both sides of the political spectrum. However, the damage caused by Katrina will trigger the application of the principles of Kelo on a scale not contemplated in June. No doubt, there will be situations where those principles are used to enrich those with political connections rather than to advance the public interest. (There have already been blog comments on this issue, generally expressing fears that Kelo will be used to dispossess African-Americans and the poor. See here, here, and here.) However, the reconstruction of New Orleans in any rational way is unthinkable without the power of condemnation. And Kelo.