This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," January 2, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: The planned demolition of hundreds of homes in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans has been put on hold until Friday. City hall had tagged more than 5,000 hurricane-damaged homes for demolition, but homeowner say many of them were not informed of the plan and the entire process was unconstitutional. Residents will have the chance to make their case to a judge in just four days.
Joining us now is the attorney arguing on behalf of the homeowners, Bill Quigley. Counselor, thank you for doing what you're doing. As I understand it, they didn't have the right to do this constitutionally, either by the federal, Constitution, the Louisiana constitution. Don't they need a court order to do what they did, or tried to do?
BILL QUIGLEY, ATTORNEY FOR NEW ORLEANS RESIDENTS: That's right. That's right. It's really — you know, the city made this announcement on Christmas Eve, that they were going to proceed immediately to start the demolition of 5,500 homes. Bad timing, bad decision, bad law. People have suffered enough without having to have their homes knocked out from underneath them without any notice, without their consent, without any participation.
COLMES: Without protesting. And as I understand it, a lot of these homes, a lot of these buildings have got red tags, well, they reduced it by about half, didn't they? Because they found that some of them were already in use and there wasn't a problem that required demolition?
QUIGLEY: Right. They — they announced that the red tags were going to be the criteria. They seem to be backing off that at this point and concentrating more on properties that are really much more in bad shape and maybe out in the street or on the sidewalk a little bit.
But still, we just say, you know, it's been months. We just don't trust the government enough to make a unilateral decision to destroy people's homes without consulting with the homeowner or without their permission. That's what — our government is based on, you know, checks and balances. We've got to have an opportunity that people who own their own homes can participate in the decision by the city and the federal government to go ahead and destroy them.
COLMES: It's unfathomable, that given what they've already been through, given what we've seen was a slow response, and given that what they've had to endure and suffer, that they now don't have recourse. But now, thanks to the work you're doing, does everybody who needs recourse have that ability to address this in the courts if necessary?
QUIGLEY: Well, they have until Friday. We have another hearing with the judge on Friday. Very important whether the judge is going to send a very strong signal to the homeowners and to the city of what she is going to allow in terms of a process, a fair process to decide whether people can keep their homes or not.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Mr. Quigley, Sean here. I'm like Alan here. I think this is what is great what you're doing here.
What is really frightening to me is the homeowners had no due process rights. And I — I want to go down there myself, frankly, and take a look at these homes, because from what I'm seeing on our video, these homes look fine. They're just in disrepair. And it's not the government's decision, considering that it's on their property and that they haven't even given them an opportunity to decide if they want to repair these homes.
QUIGLEY: That's right. When you're talking about 5,000-plus homes, there are a lot of mistakes that have been made.
There are a lot of houses that are ultimately going to have to be demolished. But even where they're going to be demolished the homeowners ought to have a say so in it. And certainly in the places where they've made mistakes the homeowners, that's why we have due process, so the homeowners can correct the bad action by the state.
HANNITY: Well, it's even more than that. We have the ability — and I have friends that I know that have done this, that have literally picked homes up and they moved them.
Some of these homes perhaps are off their foundation. With a good architect and good engineers, they could, could potentially find a way to put them back on their foundations, put them into full repair. And they're not even given the choice here. That just almost sounds un-American to me.
QUIGLEY: Well, I think it certainly is, because obviously, people have already suffered. As you said, people are scattered all over the United States. People are struggling to survive wherever they are right now. Many people don't even know that their houses are among the ones that are scheduled for demolition.
HANNITY: That's scary.
QUIGLEY: So knowledge about what's happening, truth, and an opportunity to defend yourself.
HANNITY: It's just like eminent domain, the stories we've been covering on this shore where the government just comes in, unilaterally makes a declaration they want to move these people out of their property, in some of these instances, for no other reason other than to increase the tax base for the city or the town or the municipality of some kind. The pictures I'm seeing of some of these homes that they are declaring need to be bulldozed, they look like they just need some repair.
QUIGLEY: You're right.
HANNITY: I just can't believe that they felt that they had the ability to do this. These people have gone through enough here.
QUIGLEY: Absolutely. Absolutely. And we're really hopeful that the judge will see it the same way. Make sure people have a chance to build their homes back up if they need them and to repair them to get back in them and to participate in any decisions that the government will make about what will happen to their home. In which case...
COLMES: Quickly — we thank you very much. We're out of time. We'll be following this story, though, very closely. We thank you for being with us tonight.
And don't forget, we want you if you're watching this and you have an eminent domain story to e-mail us to ItCouldHappentoYou@FOXNews.com. If you have a story of eminent domain abuse. ItCouldHappentoYou@FOXNews.com. We'll stay on top of this.
Watch "Hannity & Colmes" weeknights at 9 p.m. ET!
Content and Programming Copyright 2005 FOX News Network, L.L.C. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2005 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon FOX News Network, L.L.C.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.