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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Thursday, June 23, 2005
High Court Expands Reach of Eminent Domain
(reposted for Doctor Bean)

This is a major defeat for private property rights. The Supreme Court ruled today that cities can use their eminent domain power to take private property (family homes in this particular case) against the will of the owners for private projects. Before, eminent domain was constrained to public projects such as roads or parks. In this case, the court ruled that the city can take the homes so that a private developer could build office buildings that would provide the city with more tax revenue. This is a very bad decision, and will certainly lead to influential businesses using local government to trample over the rights of small property owners. Ruling in the minority against this disaster: O’Connor, Rhenquist, Scalia and Thomas.

Will this persuade any liberals that liberalism no longer stands for protecting liberty? If you want government out of your bedroom, maybe we can start by keeping government from tearing your whole house down.
: ( No, liberals will probably think it's a good thing!
Eminent domain is rotten, and eminent domain for private profit and increased tax revenue is hateful. What lessons do we learn from this decision? Government is all about distributing wealth. Get involved in the political process, lest the government decide you're an easy target for exploitation.
Irina: I'm not sure. Liberals may like that city tax revenues benefit, but the other beneficiary is big business, and the losers are homeowners. That should give liberals some pause. I hope.

Oven: Yes. Everyone should be thinking would a mall be great where my house is? If so, better vote Republican.
The freaking busline in the Valley is mucking things up for a lot of people here.
Thanks for this post. I read about the decision in a newspaper, but I didn't understand why it was so groundbreaking. Either the newspaper did a poor job of explaining, or I was only half attending. (It's possible: I live in Canada, so the decision has no direct impact on me.)

I find it galling that the legal landscape can be significantly altered by the judiciary by means of a 5-4 judgment. To apply the law, a bare majority is surely adequate. But to establish a brand new legal principle, perhaps a more decisive verdict should be required.

In this case, in effect, a single person has made a decision that has implications for all Americans. How can the public have any confidence that the decision was a sound one?
Jack: and that's before this court decision. Imagine how they'll be able to muck things up now.

Q: That's exactly right. Conservatives have been very worried about exactly that issue -- legislation from the judicial bent without any democratic checks and balances. The only fix is more restrained (i.e. conservative) judges, and when Bush nominates them Congress fillibusters!
I remember reading a story about this little house that stands in the shadows of TrumpLand down in Atlantic City. Trump had tried to buy, coerce, force the owner out any way he could, to no avail. Ended up building around the house.

Nowadays, he would just have to pay off the right pol.

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