Supreme Court Rules Property Rights

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  • #26
Les said:
Well, on the other side of things . . . around here you can't buy much of a home for under a million dollars.
That's around here. I took a trip to Cincinatti once. Their half-million dollar homes put our million dollar ones to shame.
So that price may not really be that unfair.
 
  • #27
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Les Sleeth said:
Capitalism marches on.
:confused: Capitalism is a system where there is least interference of the government in the economy, not where corporations can bulldoze people's homes by force.

This more smells like fascism to me.
 
  • #28
Kerrie
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Les Sleeth said:
To me, it is might makes right at the expense of individual rights. There had to have been a more collaborative, individual-rights-preserving way to bring about the "ends" this ugly "means" was aiming for.
interesting that it is this way although our government is suppossedly a republic.
 
  • #29
selfAdjoint
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Kerrie said:
interesting that it is this way although our government is suppossedly a republic.
Republic, not democracy. Remember Renaissance Venice was a republic, too. Bridge of Sighs, anyone?
 
  • #30
FredGarvin
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In regards to the verdict, I can and have debated about the eminent domain and taking of land for PUBLIC use. This verdict takes the public usage and extends it to PRIVATE as well. The justification in that local governments should know better is ludicrous. Local governments can't pave roads around here let alone be trusted with my property should they deem the city needs a 120th CVS for the bettering of the community. There are no checks and balances here.
 
  • #31
BobG
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This is one of those laws that are a good idea at its core, but has become so badly abused over time that the original reason for the law has probably been forgotten.

Eminent domain is supposed to keep a single person from irreparably damaging the entire community. It's original intent was to make sure towns could communicate with each other. A private owner can't own or block a highway or river or railroad (condemning houses to expand the width of a road is actually an appropriate use of eminent domain, even if other issues about the necessity of the expansion may be debatable). It would be ludicrous to make a railroad that followed a zig-zag path around every owner that didn't want to sell - the effectiveness of the railroad would be damaged so badly that it would be equivalent to blocking the building of the railroad completely. Without eminent domain, a single person could blackmail an entire city for money or just out of spite.

Eminent domain shouldn't apply to building a housing development, store, or factory since all of those could be placed in an alternate location and still retain their overall character even if the alternative location isn't as attractive as the original. It really shouldn't even apply to the government obtaining land for courthouses, police stations, etc, since all of these can be placed in an alternative location.

The problem is that each instance has to be weighed on a case by case basis. It's not the law itself that's inherently bad - it's the fact that the bar has steadily gotten lower over time to the point that an increase in city property and sales tax income is treated the same as providing essential communication and trade routes to the outside world.
 
  • #32
Kerrie
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selfAdjoint said:
Republic, not democracy. Remember Renaissance Venice was a republic, too. Bridge of Sighs, anyone?
Yes, and a republic is typically defined as a government with a president but the power rests in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is excercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them. It doesn't seem to me that this ruling reflects this.
 
  • #33
honestrosewater
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BobG said:
A private owner can't own or block a highway or river or railroad (condemning houses to expand the width of a road is actually an appropriate use of eminent domain, even if other issues about the necessity of the expansion may be debatable). It would be ludicrous to make a railroad that followed a zig-zag path around every owner that didn't want to sell - the effectiveness of the railroad would be damaged so badly that it would be equivalent to blocking the building of the railroad completely. Without eminent domain, a single person could blackmail an entire city for money or just out of spite.
Yeah, this is what I was going to say.
It really shouldn't even apply to the government obtaining land for courthouses, police stations, etc, since all of these can be placed in an alternative location.
But the location of police and fire stations does affect how well they can serve the community in their emergency response capacities.
I think it's also fair to consider cost and convenience in other situations. For instance, the difference in cost between expanding the current fire station vs. demolishing the old one and building a new one at a different location could be so great that forcing a few people to move is the fairest option. And things that everyone pays for the use of, like libraries, parks, recreation centers, schools, should be located where everyone can use them. Safety also needs to be considered for things that are heavily used by young children. So I can see reasons for seizing property to provide essential services or things that everyone in the community pays to build or use. But private housing, stores, business offices, and factories don't fall into those categories.
 
  • #34
learningphysics
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honestrosewater said:
I just saw this too. My stepfather's house was seized and the property was used for part of a fire station, and I thought that was fair. But I thought eminent domain applied to property intended for public use only (highways, fire stations, etc.). ??
Did he receive reasonable compensation?
 
  • #35
BobG
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honestrosewater said:
But the location of police and fire stations does affect how well they can serve the community in their emergency response capacities.
I think it's also fair to consider cost and convenience in other situations. For instance, the difference in cost between expanding the current fire station vs. demolishing the old one and building a new one at a different location could be so great that forcing a few people to move is the fairest option. And things that everyone pays for the use of, like libraries, parks, recreation centers, schools, should be located where everyone can use them. Safety also needs to be considered for things that are heavily used by young children. So I can see reasons for seizing property to provide essential services or things that everyone in the community pays to build or use. But private housing, stores, business offices, and factories don't fall into those categories.
I would use a higher criteria for using eminent domain. The key is essential services. You've got a point about the location of police and fire stations. The remainder, libraries, parks, etc, should be the best available location. Using eminent domain to obtain a desired location, even for things everyone in the community pays to build or use, falls in the same category as using eminent domain for commercial purposes in my opinion.

Eminent domain should be a safeguard that keeps the right of private ownership from turning into a disaster, not a tool to suppress the rights of private ownership.
 
  • #36
honestrosewater
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learningphysics said:
Did he receive reasonable compensation?
I don't know how much they paid him (they did pay him something), but I don't remember him complaining about it.
BobG said:
I would use a higher criteria for using eminent domain. The key is essential services. You've got a point about the location of police and fire stations. The remainder, libraries, parks, etc, should be the best available location. Using eminent domain to obtain a desired location, even for things everyone in the community pays to build or use, falls in the same category as using eminent domain for commercial purposes in my opinion.
So, it may be a rare situation, but what if there is no available location?
I think you should start with all acceptable locations, an acceptable budget, and keep eminent domain as a 'last resort'. For instance, building an elementary school in an industrial area along a busy highway at the edge of the county (so that most of the kids need to be bussed there) for a tenth of the city's annual operating budget is unacceptable IMO. In such a situation, I think seizing property- with just compensation- is acceptable.
I don't know how to prevent abuse though. If any politician doesn't know that people don't like being kicked out of their homes, they'll discover this as soon as they propose it. But I guess it's asking too much for everyone to be reasonable and cooperative, and the majority can still pick on the minority. I'd have to think about if or how that could be prevented.
 
  • #37
Pengwuino
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BobG said:
I would use a higher criteria for using eminent domain. The key is essential services. You've got a point about the location of police and fire stations. The remainder, libraries, parks, etc, should be the best available location. Using eminent domain to obtain a desired location, even for things everyone in the community pays to build or use, falls in the same category as using eminent domain for commercial purposes in my opinion.
I disagree, when it comes to government services, desired locations and essential locations should be one in the same. The whole idea of our government is to put a service in reach of as many people as possible.

wait wait... when you say desirable... are you saying desirable as in "its diserable to have the location near clients" or disirable in a commercial retail ideal where "its diserable to have a location thats low in crime, high in traffic, with a starbucks near by". If you mean desirable in the former case, i disagree with you and think government institutions should be where htey best serve the people. If its the latter then i agree.
 
  • #38
Evo
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I loved this interview with the attorney that won the case to seize the homes.

CARLSON: What would you stay them? To (New London resident) Wilhelmina Dery, for instance, whose family has been in their house, as you know, since 1901. She was born there. This must be crushing to her. How would explain this for her?

CARLSON: But can you give me the three sentences you would say to her to make her feel better about this?

HORTON: Yes. I would say, it's too that bad your property has been taken. All I can say to you, ma'am, is, it's being taken for the public interest and New London, as a whole, will be better for it.

CARLSON: OK. Well, I hope that makes her feel better. Wesley Horton, congratulations on your victory, anyway.

HORTON: Thank you very much.

CARLSON: Even if I disagree with the outcome. Thanks a lot.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8346024/
 
  • #39
Astronuc
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Evo said:
HORTON: Yes. I would say, it's too that bad your property has been taken. All I can say to you, ma'am, is, it's being taken for the public interest and New London, as a whole, will be better for it.
Oh, BS! The land is being taken to give to a developer who will make a huge profit, and the benefit to the community (which is probably minimal) will not offset the detriment of those who lose their homes.

I can't believe there aren't other locations just as acceptable for the project. I could understand taking out derelict or abandoned buildings, but homes where people live.

This is just plain wrong! :mad:
 
  • #40
Phobos
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Just Desserts!

This is priceless!

http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/06/29/souter.property.ap/index.html [Broken]
A critic of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that governments may seize private property for economic development is suggesting the process be used to replace Justice David Souter's New Hampshire home with a hotel.

from WorldNetDaily.com
Logan Darrow Clements faxed a request to Chip Meany, the code enforcement officer of the town of Weare, N.H., seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road, the present location of Souter's home.

Wrote Clements: "Although this property is owned by an individual, David H. Souter, a recent Supreme Court decision, Kelo v. City of New London, clears the way for this land to be taken by the government of Weare through eminent domain and given to my LLC for the purposes of building a hotel. The justification for such an eminent domain action is that our hotel will better serve the public interest as it will bring in economic development and higher tax revenue to Weare."

...

According to a statement from Clements, the proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, "featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America." Instead of a Gideon's Bible in each room, guests will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged," the statement said.
 
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