The Battle for Property Rights - eminent domain Heats up.

Bob Hubbard

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[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif] Ain't This America. . .[/font]
[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The Battle for Property Rights[/font]
[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]By MARY DEIBEL[/font]
[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Jul 29, 2005, 06:48[/font]
[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][/font] http://www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_7116.shtml
[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Susette Kelo didn't plan to lend her name to a grass-roots revolution when she and six neighbors took on New London, Conn., over plans to raze their modest homes and redevelop the waterfront property as a hotel, office park and "urban-style" townhouses. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]"I was in this battle to save my home and, in the process, protect the rights of working-class homeowners," Kelo, a registered nurse, said of the U.S. Supreme Court fight she lost last month on a 5-4 vote. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Public outrage at the ruling has seen most states take up the battle cry for private-property rights. Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell asked cities and counties to forestall condemnation for private development until state legislators reconsider how and when to use eminent domain. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]"It's the 21st-century equivalent of the Boston Tea Party," says Rell. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The high-stakes legal fight centers around the Fifth Amendment requirement that private property not "be taken for public use without just compensation." [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]In Kelo's case, the Supreme Court was asked to decide if "public use" includes any property taken for public purposes, such as private economic development, and not just land designated as "blighted areas" that the court opened to eminent domain 50 years ago. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Five justices agreed that public use can include private projects that add jobs and tax revenues. But Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the majority, cautioned that nothing in the Constitution precludes states "from placing further restrictions (on) the exercise of the taking power." [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]And so to the states is where the eminent-domain fight has shifted. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Kelo's attorney, Scott Bullock of the Washington-based Institute for Justice, said his client's case "will not be the last word" and noted that state Supreme Courts have begun revising and reversing eminent-domain rules. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Most prominent is Michigan: In 1981, its Supreme Court ruled it "in the public interest" to let Detroit lend its condemnation powers to buy out homeowners and businesses in the Poletown neighborhood for a General Motors plant. But now the Michigan court has judged its Poletown standard too lax in a lawsuit over land for a Detroit-area high-tech corridor. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]State legislatures are also being pressed to stiffen their definitions of "public use." [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Six states _ Connecticut, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, New York and North Dakota _ expressly let government "take" private property for economic development. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Another nine _ Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, South Carolina and Washington _ limit redevelopment authorities to condemning private property in "blighted areas." [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Since the Kelo case unsettled those definitions, at least 27 states are looking at further restrictions. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Alabama was first out of the gate. At the urging of Gov. Bob Riley, a special legislative session this week unanimously approved legislation to forbid condemnation of private property for "nongovernmental retail, office, commercial, residential or industrial development or use." Sponsors note that Alabama never used eminent domain to acquire the property that Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes and Toyota used to build plants. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Still, state and local government groups caution against a rush to action. The National League of Cities counsels that "rumors of the death of property rights are greatly exaggerated." [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]"Eminent domain is not a power to be used lightly," but one tool for cities and their citizens to stay vital, says Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams, president of the League of Cities. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Williams asks, "Where would Baltimore be without the Inner Harbor, Kansas City without its Speedway; Canton, Miss., without its new Nissan plant?" [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Conservative state lawmakers will gather Monday in Grapevine, Texas, to draft model legislation to expand property-rights protections. The proposals will go to the American Legislative Exchange Council's board for approval by fall, before legislative sessions reconvene in most states. In advance: [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]_ California state Sen. Tom McClintock pre-filed a proposed constitutional amendment limiting condemnation by the state and its 6,000 local subdivisions. The proposal expands on California's blighted-area requirement to "specifically prohibit the seizure of one person's property for the private gain of another." [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Despite California's "blight" restrictions, eminent domain is being eyeballed for everything from a new Los Angeles stadium to woo a National Football League franchise to a Ventura County spat over a port authority plan to put a cargo terminal where waterfront housing is proposed. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]_ Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has approved House Speaker Allan Bense's creation of a statewide committee to develop eminent-domain guidelines. In Florida, Daytona and Riviera Beach are embroiled in waterfront-condemnation controversies, and a Marlins baseball stadium plan would displace 100 Miami families. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]_ In Tennessee, state Rep. Frank Niceley wants taxpayers to pay business or homeowners triple a property's assessed price if it's condemned for economic development. Niceley was reared on tales of the Tennessee Valley Authority flooding out farmers in his district and is old enough to remember condemnations for the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville. Both episodes convinced him that treble payment is the fair way "to reimburse the poor devil whose land is being stolen for the trauma of having to go through moving their home or business." [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Texas, however, is the epicenter of the Kelo earthquake. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Its congressional delegation is leading the charge to withhold federal funds whenever local governments use eminent domain for private development. Otherwise, House Republican leader Tom DeLay of Texas said, "There is no reason your city council cannot kick you out of your house and give it to a wealthier family." [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]A special Texas legislative session is considering eminent-domain curbs, too, to protect "the right of Texans to unfettered access to their land," state Senate sponsor Kyle Janek said. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]His bill is not absolute but grandfathers eminent domain's use for a new $650 million Dallas Cowboys football stadium in Arlington, where only three-dozen of 200 landowners on the 75-acre site have accepted current offers. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Arlington's last major eminent-domain dustup was in 1993, when Texas authorized the stadium authority to condemn land for a ballpark for the Texas Rangers, under then-managing partner George W. Bush. [/font]

[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The family of air-conditioning and electronics pioneer Curtis Mathes rejected the $817,000 offer for 13 acres, asking $2.8 million instead, and eventually won a $7 million jury award that included $3 million in lawyer fees and costs. [/font]





[font=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif](Contact Mary Deibel at deibelm(at)shns.com) [/font]



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Bob Hubbard

Bob Hubbard

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And, people fight back against the Justices who decided to let corporations steal their property.

Weare, New Hampshire (PRWEB) Could a hotel be built on the land owned by Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter? A new ruling by the Supreme Court which was supported by Justice Souter himself itself might allow it. A private developer is seeking to use this very law to build a hotel on Souter's land.
http://www.freestarmedia.com/hotellostliberty2.html
http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=45029

Libertarians launch efforts to take over Supreme Court justice's vacation home
http://www.wavy.com/Global/story.asp?S=3659814
PLAINFIELD, N.H. A group of Libertarians wants to seize Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's vacation home in New Hampshire and turn it into a park.
The Libertarians are upset about a high court ruling last month that let a Connecticut city take older homes by eminent domain and turn the land over to a private developer.

The New Hampshire Libertarian Party chairman says the group is "recreating the same use of eminent domain."

Breyer owns 167 acres in the town of Plainfield. Organizers are trying to collect enough signatures to go before the town next spring and ask to use the land for what they call a "Constitution Park."

Similar efforts are under way in Weare, New Hampshire, to seize Justice David Souter's home.

Both Souter and Breyer supported the eminent domain decision.

http://www.lp.org/article_158.shtml
 

arnisador

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I agree that they should be forced to pay a premium for the land, so as to discourage people doing this too readily. Say, 10% over its value--and that's its value as the commercial property they intend to convert it to when all is saod and done.
 

still learning

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Hello, Eminemt domain has it's purpose, which is to benfit the majority of the people for public use. Which is needed to build roads,schools and other public uses.

That case by the surpreme court to condemm private property to give to a private company to build a swim park is WRONG!!!! Most of us agree with this.

Old run down housing and crime areas can benfit by eminent domain and turn into new public housing or uses. What is right for each space must be justify and fair to both parties.

To many of us are using the courts for all our decisons. We need to put many of those things on the ballots and let the people decide what it wants!

Have you notice everything are being decide by Judges (one person) whose background could be different from most people.

Laws are made by man and can be change by man, Laws are not made forever........Aloha
 

arnisador

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Meanwhile...the House is firing back:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051103/ap_on_go_co/seizing_property

Contending that the Supreme Court has undermined a pillar of American society, the sanctity of the home, the House overwhelmingly approved a bill Thursday to block the court-approved seizure of private property for use by developers.

The bill, passed 376-38, would withhold federal money from state and local governments that use powers of eminent domain to force businesses and homeowners to give up their property for commercial uses.
 

Satt

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Oh my God this issue burns me up. Let's tear up people's houses for the interest of the "whole". Sounds a little like Communism to me. :cuss:
 

michaeledward

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Is there anything that qualifies as: 'in the public good' or 'for the public good'?

If there is, then someone is going to have to draw a line that separates those items that are 'in the public good' from those items that are not 'in the public good'. Usually, those persons are judges. No matter what side of the argument you are on, if the judge draws a line where you don't like it, it is 'judicial activism'. That's the problem with the 'judicial activism' argument.

The Constitution give authority for 'taking' to the government, do you think the Constitution is Communist? Of course not. But, the only way to truly defeat that argument, is to amend the constitution to remove the clauses about eminent domain. That, too, seems a bit drastic, don't you think? No more protected environments. No more National Parks. No expansion of highways, railroad, or airports. It could really get to the point where the economy is hindered by such restrictions.

So, a balance must be struck. Which leads us right back to Judicial Activism.

Are there any laws that are written so clearly that they do not need interpretation from a judge? The only place I know of that is in the Tax Code - specific tax breaks for specific companies get added in rather frequently. Usually, it is difficult to figure out who the tax break is for, because it is so specific. We end up with a laboriously large tax code which then creates cries for simplification.

Boy, governing is messy, eh?
 

Don Roley

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I guess this is an example of 'the needs of the many are more important than the needs of the few.'

While everyone is yelling about the corporations, I think the local goverments should not be given a free ride.

Take a look at the cases we know of. Not one seems to be a case where a corporation has made it known that they want a certain piece of property and convinced the politicians to grab it. Rather is looks like the local goverments are trying their best to lure new businesses to their areas and are seizing these places to convince them.

The corporations don't need to do any back room deals. If you have not noticed, there are tons of areas competing for them.

And the politicians that do these things are not worried about the populace voting them out of office. As much as all of us are mad about this, the guys in the areas that are getting these new factories and such are all too happy that they are getting some sort of benefit. They may murmer some comments about being sorry that someone (other than them) had to sacrifice, but they are not going to vote out of office the guys that are giving them better schools, more business for them, etc.

Lets face it, the majority will shaft the minority if it is in their best interest.

That is why I think we need to go after this at the highest level we can. If you pass a state law saying that local goverments can't seize property for economic use, then you may have a chance. But if you give the locals that may be on the gravy train the choice, they will turn it down.
 
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