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23rd-Jun-2005 10:38 am
U.S. Supreme Court rules local governments may seize homes and businesses for private economic development.
I am SO not kidding. I have no response to this, words fail me.

Even scarier, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eminent_domain
In the United States, the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution requires that just compensation be paid when the power of eminent domain is used, and requires that "public purpose" of the property be demonstrated. Over the years the definition of "public purpose" has expanded to include economic development plans which use eminent domain seizures to enable commercial development for the purpose of generating more tax revenue for the local government. Critics contend (http://reclaimdemocracy.org/civil_rights/public_use_corporate_abuse.php) this perverts the intent of eminent domain law and tramples personal property rights.
23rd-Jun-2005 02:43 pm (UTC)
Whoa.... That is unfuckingreal.
23rd-Jun-2005 02:53 pm (UTC) - oh my god!
High Court Rules Gov'ts Can Seize Property
Thursday, June 23, 2005

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses — even against their will — for private economic development.

It was a decision fraught with huge implications for a country with many areas, particularly the rapidly growing urban and suburban areas, facing countervailing pressures of development and property ownership rights.

The 5-4 ruling represented a defeat for some Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas.

As a result, cities now have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes in order to generate tax revenue.

23rd-Jun-2005 03:09 pm (UTC) - Re: oh my god!
that's ok.....

all we need to do is convince washington that they need another IKEA at 1835 73rd Ave NE, Medina, WA 98039 (also known as Bill Gates' house) and then they can bulldoze it.

then we can convince california that they need an office complex where Arnold Schwarzewhateverthefuck's house is.

the list can go on and on

23rd-Jun-2005 02:56 pm (UTC)
What the fucking hell?


I have no words other than that.
23rd-Jun-2005 03:01 pm (UTC)
This has been coming for some time. I remember watching the "60 Minutes" segment on it over a year ago. I was appalled then, and I'm equally appalled now. I can't believe they'd broaden the definition of eminent domain to include private development.

You should've seen the segment. The local government's justification for it was absolutely absurd. Ostensibly, they wanted to "eliminate blight", but their definition of blight was so broad that your house could be condemned for having less than two bathrooms!


I can't wait to read the opinion. I'm guessing it's got that fucker Scalia written all over it.
23rd-Jun-2005 03:08 pm (UTC)
Nope. The justices who voted for it are the more so-called liberal ones. Voting against were Scalia, Thomas (no surprise), Rhenquist, and O'Connor (sp?).
23rd-Jun-2005 03:24 pm (UTC)

This is a surprise.

A nasty one.

Am I living in the Bizarro universe now, or something?
23rd-Jun-2005 03:48 pm (UTC)
You are living in a bizarro universe. This decision has the potential to be much more dire than an overturing of Roe vs. Wade. Now politicians may have the power to strike at their ideological and political enemies through seizure of their private property under the smokescreen of the "community interest". Community or collective interest is an age-old excuse for oppression. It is highly dangerous.
23rd-Jun-2005 03:06 pm (UTC)
Yep. Reason number 3008763 why I'm a libertarian. We're becoming less free with each passing year in this country. On the bright side, this could revitalize urban areas. On the not so bright side the cost in freedom (which respect for private property is essential) is unacceptable.
23rd-Jun-2005 03:08 pm (UTC)
What does political party have to do with it, though?

It's in the constitution. This isn't simply Republicans Gone Wild.
23rd-Jun-2005 03:09 pm (UTC)
That's why I didn't capitalise the L in libertarian. Most libertarians wouldn't touch the Libertarian party with a ten foot pole. It's a case of statists gone nuts. And statists are bountiful on the left and right.
23rd-Jun-2005 03:11 pm (UTC)
I don't understand. You're a non-Libertarian libertarian?
23rd-Jun-2005 03:43 pm (UTC)
Exactly. Most libertarians are not Libertarians (members of the horrific Libertarian party). Libertarianism is more a philosphy than a political party. My own political/social/economic philosophy most closely resembles objectivism, the philisophy originally of Ayn Rand, which many consider to be a libertarian philosophy. Ayn Rand insisted it was not libertarianism. She equated libertarians with anarchists, a political philosophy that rose out of Marxism which shares some anti-statist positions with libertarianism.

Before the Christianist take-over of the Republican party, most libertarians were, or voted primarily for Republicans. That is changing rapidly. Both political parties now overwhelmingly support the expansion of the state to the detriment of individual rights. So most objectivists and other flavors of libertarians now have a hard time picking candidates to vote for.
(Deleted comment)
23rd-Jun-2005 03:14 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm trying to wrap my (very, very tired) brain around that one. I mean, it sounds like a very Republican thing to oppose, so I can get why the judges who dissented did. I'm still a little fuzzy on why those who supported it did so, though.
23rd-Jun-2005 03:19 pm (UTC)
kick backs. It's all about you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours.

I can't prove it, but it's a gut feeling.

23rd-Jun-2005 03:20 pm (UTC)
Ok, I understand the idea of 'eminent domain' in the origins of the phrase: the idea was that the gov't could take homes that have otherwise been abandoned and build there, or if there was a terrible need for a hospital or other gov't service, they could do the same. Unfortunately, these guys are geeting a bit uppity now. Economic development? Let me just say most 'blighted' places don't need a WalMart that will put smaller stores out of business and leave itself within 5 years. O'Connor and I have disagreed in the past, but I agree with her on this:

She argued that cities should not have unlimited authority to uproot families, even if they are provided compensation, simply to accommodate wealthy developers. "Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random," O'Connor wrote. "The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."
(Deleted comment)
23rd-Jun-2005 04:45 pm (UTC)
In the case that originally brought this to the Court's attention, the city was doing just that: a company wanted to build a series of office buildings and shopping centers, and the city was attempting to take the homeowners' properties by use of 'eminent domain.' 'Course, now they can take them.

I'm not sure what application this ruling would have on the above situation. If it is a plant owned by one individual, it would certainly apply. However, I would have to read the full ruling to see if it could be applied at all to corporations, since they do not typically have the same set of rights as citizens.
23rd-Jun-2005 03:59 pm (UTC)
I think this is one of the scariest things to come out of our government in my recent memory. The sheer implications of this is just... scary...
23rd-Jun-2005 04:06 pm (UTC)
This has been going on long than you might think.

Our family owned two older houses in my hometown. Both were in decent condition, but they were on adjoining lots about 2 blocks from the county courthouse. One of the homes was "condemned" and we were forced to tear it down. When we tore it down, the lot reverted from residential to commercial zoning. Since I was living in the other house, they couldn't do anything about it.

But, we outsmarted them, we think. We had the two lots redrawn as one lot, the residential lot's zoning having precedent over the commercial lot's zoning. Then, we built our new house where the old "condemned" house was and we use the house we were living in as a storage building.

We had to sort of do things in a round-about way, but, once the brand new home was up (with all the proper approvals), there was nothing they could do.

All of this was done in the name of "revitalization" of our downtown, so they couldn't argue that building a new house wasn't a revitalizing effort. But, who knows, in 2 or 3 years, we may get our property condemned right out from under us.

I don't trust any government very much.
23rd-Jun-2005 04:22 pm (UTC) - *unsurprised*
Mostly because this was posted already at the forums I talk in at youthink.com - but also because this isn't new. I hate it, myself. I think it sucks - it's a ripoff for anyone having to go through it. The government basically yanks your land & says "see ya, sucker!!!"...but I'm not really sure what all there is that can be done about it - especially now since the Supreme Court has decided it's fair.
23rd-Jun-2005 04:31 pm (UTC)
I knew this was on SCOTUS' plate but I didn't think they would approve it.

23rd-Jun-2005 06:06 pm (UTC)
I don't get this. The majority opinion was signed by the 5 justices I most often agree with, and the dissent was formed by the 4 justices with whom I most often disagree.

But I just cannot see how this is right or just or a good precedent.

I'll have to look further into the case, but on the face of it, it just seems wrong to me. Even if there are extenuating circumstances in this particular case, I hate to see this kind of precedent. It just opens the floodgates to abuse of eminent domain.
23rd-Jun-2005 06:14 pm (UTC)
So now it's officially legal and constitutional to take private homes and give the land to big developers.

It's happened before, and hasn't been challenged. This time it was challenged. I am appalled at the ruling.

Several years ago, an elderly Black widow owned a small home on a piece of land in Bremerton on which a large auto dealership wanted to expand. She refused to sell. The city condemned her house and took it via eminent domain, saying it was needed to expand the sewage plant nearby (a public use), then outright gave the land to the auto dealership.

This is not new. But for the first time, it's legal and aboveboard.

What do you want to bet this will be used to remove "undesirables" from their homes?
23rd-Jun-2005 08:34 pm (UTC) - sickened
way open to abuse. when a goverment gets too big, it believes its unstopable, and it loses site of the consequences -on a personal level- to its actions. whats worse is, the people it protects and serves..( yes.. not rules, that is what kings do)also believe that it is unstopable so they stand by, unsure of how to do any thing, doubting that it would make any difference. so what can you do?campaign, write, demonstrate etcetc. i should take my own advice i will add.. :/ but i saw in the declaration of human rights that, basically, if it is plain that things are being abused, those in charge are no good; then, those who have the ability to do something about it, have the right and also the duty to do so.
here in lil old u.k we dont have that..:(
23rd-Jun-2005 09:51 pm (UTC)
Guess they're going back to the original draft of the Declaration of Indepencence where it says we have rights to "life, liberty, and persuit of property." You can persue it all you want, but keep in mind, it's theirs.
23rd-Jun-2005 09:55 pm (UTC) - this bit
dec of indep

But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
23rd-Jun-2005 09:57 pm (UTC) - or should i say
the more complete sentance

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
24th-Jun-2005 07:23 pm (UTC)
Aint it great to be a citizen of the US where we are safe and we can pursue happiness while I government does everything they can to keep us from it?
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