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  1.    #1  
    The usual suspects strike again...

    Associated Press

    WASHINGTON - A divided Supreme Court ruled that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses against their will for private development in a decision anxiously awaited in communities where economic growth conflicts with individual property rights.

    <snip -KR>
    http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ne...UTF-8&filter=0
    Last edited by KRamsauer; 06/23/2005 at 01:49 PM.
  2. #2  
    yikes!!!
  3. #3  
    Robbing from the poor to give to the rich.
  4. #4  
    Sad day indeed. Just another example how courts are taking over this country.
  5.    #5  
    A big part of America was killed off today.

    There will be repercussions from this power grab. Watch Democrats scramble now to "clarify" their position on W's judicial nominations. People will demand action.
  6. #6  
    I've now read the AP article on the SC decision. The voting surprises me. Thinking this was a "rob from the people so business can benefit" thing, I expected Scalia and Thomas to be in the majority, but it was the other way around. The real issue must be one of who gets to decide--governments or courts.
  7. #7  
    I work in eminent domain. Eminent Domain is almost always done for the public good. Typically if it's done for private use it is for a reason. Many times you have vacant land owned by many (sometimes hundreds of people) that is broken up to small lots with no developer. The land was subdivided in the 1920's or 1930's. You now have hundreds of land owners with no infrastructure. The city or county is not willing to extend water, sewer, electricity, paved roads, etc. because they don't have the money from the tax base to do it. An individual landowner is not going to extend the services to their lot because it is cost prohibitive. So you have land that is virtually useless as landowners will never get together as a group and do what needs to be done. The tax base on a land-locked lot is nominal (in my experiences less than $5,000). So the municipality will only get around $100 each. If a new developer acquires the property via the government through the law of condemnation, the tax base benefit is tremendous. The developer reimburses the municipality for all expenses incurred in acquiring these individual lots. Don't feel sorry for the condemnee, they are always compensated well above market value. I would love a new highway to come through my living room.
  8.    #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by pbryon
    I've now read the AP article on the SC decision. The voting surprises me. Thinking this was a "rob from the people so business can benefit" thing, I expected Scalia and Thomas to be in the majority, but it was the other way around. The real issue must be one of who gets to decide--governments or courts.
    You really don't understand Thomas and Scalia.

    This is a judicial powergrab of unprecedented proportions. There will be massive repercussions from this decision. Possibly even violence.
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by Advance The Man
    I work in eminent domain. Eminent Domain is almost always done for the public good. ...
    The 5th amendment does not offer the reduced standard of public "good" but public "use." This decision potentially grants unilateral power to the state to take land at its discretion.

    I guess the good news is, instead of debating wether to use a church for high school graduation, the county now can just take the church and convert it into a public access auditorium. Oops. Sorry. Wrong thread.
  10. #10  
    I don't really see how its a judicial powergrab. If I read it right, it throws the power for who determines the "public good" or "public use" into the hands of local governments, instead of courts.

    The question of the definition of "public good/use" is another whole story whatsoever. THERE I can see lots and lots of potential problems.
  11. #11  
    I was providing an example of where it is a positive acquisition for a private use. It will help the people as a whole. Your example of a church taken for a school would be a bad example. Maybe the people of the local municpality should decide via a vote.

    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    The 5th amendment does not offer the reduced standard of public "good" but public "use." This decision potentially grants unilateral power to the state to take land at its discretion.

    I guess the good news is, instead of debating wether to use a church for high school graduation, the county now can just take the church and convert it into a public access auditorium. Oops. Sorry. Wrong thread.
  12.    #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by pbryon
    I don't really see how its a judicial powergrab. If I read it right, it throws the power for who determines the "public good" or "public use" into the hands of local governments, instead of courts.

    The question of the definition of "public good/use" is another whole story whatsoever. THERE I can see lots and lots of potential problems.
    Right. Local governments, with politicans on the take from developers.

    SCOTUS just handed these guys a blank check.
  13. #13  
    But their other choice was to put it in the hands of courts, who also routinely get lambasted here and elsewhere. Was there a good choice here at all for the Supreme Court?

    And I agree with you that this appears ripe for corruption, particularly in places where there is strong mayoral government (as opposed to a big city council).
  14. #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by Advance The Man
    Don't feel sorry for the condemnee, they are always compensated well above market value. I would love a new highway to come through my living room.
    There is more to life than money. In the case being decided the homes were in a nice area with a nice view of the river. While the new development will indeed generate more taxes. The real issue is that the developers wanted the scenic view. I think that in this case the court is wrong.
  15. #15  
    No question this particular condemnation may be wrong. I make the point where it is a good idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by starlord II
    There is more to life than money. In the case being decided the homes were in a nice area with a nice view of the river. While the new development will indeed generate more taxes. The real issue is that the developers wanted the scenic view. I think that in this case the court is wrong.
  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by pbryon
    But their other choice was to put it in the hands of courts, who also routinely get lambasted here and elsewhere. Was there a good choice here at all for the Supreme Court?
    The court gets lambasted for actions such as this one. Their role is to determine who is on the right side of the law, not establish the law.

    In this particular case, it appears that the residents were on the right side of the law (i.e. the land was not being taken for public use). However, the court determined that the mutual good expected from the proposed use of the land was of greater legal standing than the rights of the citizen--contrary to the 5th amendment.

    BTW, does just compensation mean giving you a fair price for your current property, or is it more replacement value (i.e. you can afford property of equal status)
  17. #17  
    Our rights continue to be eroded. Whether it's the 2nd Ammendment, 4th ammendment, Patriot Act...there aren't enough tea bags or a big enough harbor for me at the moment.
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  18. #18  
    Ironically an issue of eminant domain ocurred just in my town yesterday. I live in Hollywood FL.
    A developer was given the right to buy an adjacent property that the current DID NOT want to sell. The builiding was in no way "blight".
    I dont mind the ruling from the Supreme COurt...I am concerned with the parameters that this ruling gives local governments. Or does it give them actual parameters. This ruling means nothing nor changes anything if the courts did not hand down strict requirements that cities need to meet for eminent domain to take place. WIthout a strong check and balance system, we might as well go back to the Old england defination of REAL ESTATE (estate royal) or...The Kings Land. Where you had the right to the land, but only until the kingdom took it back.
    If I was taught correctly, besides Religious freedom, the right to own your own land was a very big reason for our Independance
    Just a thought.....
  19. #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    The court gets lambasted for actions such as this one. Their role is to determine who is on the right side of the law, not establish the law.
    I think there is very fine line between establishing the law and defining what the law means...its arguable here that the SC was defining what public use is.

    Public use has previously been things like highways, emergency services, etc. Public use could broadly be interpreted as how the property could be used by the public (i.e. generate tax revenue, increase employment). I think its a stretch what the court did here, but cities are under a tremendous amount of pressure to maintain all the services that citizens require and not have higher taxes. Here in CA, cities usually pay much more to the state then what they get back...larger cities like LA feel that even more.

    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    In this particular case, it appears that the residents were on the right side of the law (i.e. the land was not being taken for public use). However, the court determined that the mutual good expected from the proposed use of the land was of greater legal standing than the rights of the citizen--contrary to the 5th amendment.
    Again, you say its contrary to the 5th amendment but that in itself requires an interpretation.

    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    BTW, does just compensation mean giving you a fair price for your current property, or is it more replacement value (i.e. you can afford property of equal status)
    This is a very good question.
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  20. #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by 1911sforever
    Right. Local governments, with politicans on the take from developers.
    Local governments can be kept in check by exercising that democratic right.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1911sforever
    SCOTUS just handed these guys a blank check.
    Not necessarily. Lower courts prior to this ruling were mixed and very reserved about allowing this taking.

    When this occurs again, citizens can still challenge it and bring suit in court. The courts will have to look at what the city is intending to do with the land. If someone is trying to take it and it wont be something that generates some amount of tax revenue or its something that isnt going to bring economic benefit, then it probably wouldnt be upheld.

    Its not a blank check but it definitely is broadening the power of the local governments.
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