Friday, June 24, 2005

Gearing Up:
Eminently Wrong

Be scared. Be very scared. On Thursday, June 23rd, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in Kelo vs. New London that grotesquely distorts the definition of eminent domain and leaves no one's home safe from government confiscation at below market rates.

In the past, eminent domain, enshrined in the Bill of Rights, has required government to give "just compensation" in exchange for land that government deems necessary for the public good. Originally, this was intended to include land needed for roads and military facilities. Over the years, it came to include railroads, then urban renewal projects and freeways.

The liberal wing of the Court, in the 5-4 decision, now says that the 'taking' process may be used to hand over property to developers who promise to build projects that may provide employment and yield sales tax revenues.

And those who will be doing the taking aren't going to be feds presumably experienced with the ins and outs of eminent domain, but elected city officials nationwide. They've been salivating for this decision for years. I just don't trust them to wisely apply an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, in her dissenting opinion, put it bluntly. "Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."

Those who live, eat and breathe the motto, "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty" seem to have nothing to say on blatant government usurpation not for public use but private gain. The civil libertarians' hypocrisy would be funny if not for the incredible danger to individuals' rights.

So much for those money-grubbing, rich and heartless conservative Republicans. Supreme Court conservatives opposed this bastardization of a governmental last resort. Now there will be many more resorts built on land taken at bargain rates. And no one's domain will be safe from government.

If you want to know more about the dangers of eminent domain abuse, Google "eminent domain" or just visit the Castle Coalition at http://www.castlecoalition.org/ or the Reason Public Policy Institute's page on eminent domain http://www.rppi.org/emdomain/index.shtml.

1 comment:

Chandira said...

And George Bush's use of eminent domain laws to buy up land for his (Tigers? Don't follow it) own sports purposes. Apparently.