Supreme Court backs property seizure for private development der=0

llad12

Diabloii.Net Member
Supreme Court backs property seizure for private development

A recent ruling by the US Supreme Court:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday 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 often is at war with individual property 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.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has been a key swing vote on many cases before the court, issued a stinging dissent. She argued that cities should not have unlimited authority to uproot families, even if they are provided compensation, simply to accommodate wealthy developers.

Connecticut residents involved in the lawsuit expressed dismay and pledged to keep fighting.

''It's a little shocking to believe you can lose your home in this country,'' said resident Bill Von Winkle, who said he would refuse to leave his home, even if bulldozers showed up. ''I won't be going anywhere. Not my house. This is definitely not the last word.''

Scott Bullock, an attorney for the Institute for Justice representing the families, added: ''A narrow majority of the court simply got the law wrong today and our Constitution and country will suffer as a result.''

Writing for the court, Justice John Paul Stevens said local officials, not federal judges, know best in deciding whether a development project will benefit the community. States are within their rights to pass additional laws restricting condemnations if residents are overly burdened, he said.

''The city has carefully formulated an economic development that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including -- but by no means limited to -- new jobs and increased tax revenue,'' Stevens wrote in an opinion joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

''It is not for the courts to oversee the choice of the boundary line nor to sit in review on the size of a particular project area,'' he said.

At issue was the scope of the Fifth Amendment, which allows governments to take private property through eminent domain if the land is for ''public use.''

Susette Kelo and several other homeowners in a working-class neighborhood in New London, Conn., filed suit after city officials announced plans to raze their homes for a riverfront hotel, health club and offices.

New London officials countered that the private development plans served a public purpose of boosting economic growth that outweighed the homeowners' property rights, even if the area wasn't blighted.

''We're pleased,'' attorney Edward O'Connell, who represents New London Development Corporation, said in response to the ruling.

The lower courts had been divided on the issue, with many allowing a taking only if it eliminates blight.

''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.''

She was joined in her opinion by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, as well as Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

Nationwide, more than 10,000 properties were threatened or condemned in recent years, according to the Institute for Justice, a Washington public interest law firm representing the New London homeowners.

New London, a town of less than 26,000, once was a center of the whaling industry and later became a manufacturing hub. More recently the city has suffered the kind of economic woes afflicting urban areas across the country, with losses of residents and jobs.

The New London neighborhood that will be swept away includes Victorian-era houses and small businesses that in some instances have been owned by several generations of families. Among the New London residents in the case is a couple in their 80s who have lived in the same home for more than 50 years.

City officials envision a commercial development that would attract tourists to the Thames riverfront, complementing an adjoining Pfizer Corp. research center and a proposed Coast Guard museum.

New London was backed in its appeal by the National League of Cities, which argued that a city's eminent domain power was critical to spurring urban renewal with development projects such Baltimore's Inner Harbor and Kansas City's Kansas Speedway.

Under the ruling, residents still will be entitled to ''just compensation'' for their homes as provided under the Fifth Amendment. However, Kelo and the other homeowners had refused to move at any price, calling it an unjustified taking of their property.
Associated Press: NYT

Comments?

Do you agree with this decision?
 
Personally i dont thinkt eh gov't has a right to force you off your privately owned land for any reason. Sure, it might mean a new road doesnt get built, but then why should that person have to uproot and move to potentially some less than disireable location just so the gov't can add another road or another building that may be placed elsewhere.
Giving the abailioty for private developers to build private buildings by demolishing your home is just plain wrong IMO.
 
farting bob said:
Personally i dont thinkt eh gov't has a right to force you off your privately owned land for any reason. Sure, it might mean a new road doesnt get built, but then why should that person have to uproot and move to potentially some less than disireable location just so the gov't can add another road or another building that may be placed elsewhere.
Giving the abailioty for private developers to build private buildings by demolishing your home is just plain wrong IMO.
Can't recall offhand where it is in the document, but I believe one of the Amendments deals with this for government use. In other words, if the government decides that the next interstate needs to go through your living room, you don't have any say in the matter. You get a "blue book" offer from the government, a deadline to move out, and if you're lucky they'll let you watch em bulldoze your house.

That said, it only applied to the federal government, I believe, and had restrictions up and down on when it could be used.

This, however, is a farce.
 

Amra

Diabloii.Net Member
I am not happy with this decision. People should not be removed from their homes and businesses.

It looks like the court is really kicking it back to the states and local communities. That is where the battle needs to be fought.

jmervyn, I am replying here as this seems to warrent it's own thread. ;)
 

maccool

Diabloii.Net Member
After reading the court's decision, it doesn't look that there is that much difference between the two opinions. The minority opinion simply favored a sliightly more strict interpretation of the case law cited. O'Connor has a pretty good dissenting view.


Here's the actual court ruling seeing as how the AP has sensationalized the decision. Oh noes! They can take your home while you sleep!
 

llad12

Diabloii.Net Member
This decision is far reaching.

This not a right-of -way issue or about blighted neighborhoods.

Note from the article:

Susette Kelo and several other homeowners in a working-class neighborhood in New London, Conn., filed suit after city officials announced plans to raze their homes for a riverfront hotel, health club and offices...

The New London neighborhood that will be swept away includes Victorian-era houses and small businesses that in some instances have been owned by several generations of families. Among the New London residents in the case is a couple in their 80s who have lived in the same home for more than 50 years.
These are good homes in good neighborhoods from which the residents can be forcefully removed to make way for shopping malls, four star hotels, casinos, or whatever.

This decision is ripe for corruption.

Local politicians could be potentially paid off by mega-corporations looking for prime locations in order to make buckoo bucks.

The little man could get the shaft and have no recourse.

Whatever happen to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness?

I disagree with this ruling.

(see Jman ... there are times we actually can agree ;) )
 

jmervyn

Diabloii.Net Member
Amra said:
jmervyn, I am replying here as this seems to warrent it's own thread. ;)
Fair 'nuf - this even qualifies for that thread about judicial activism, IMNSHO.

Mac, while this may have been sensationalized by the AP, I still think it gives far too much legal leeway for future misreadings (some peoples' definitions of judicial activism, I suppose). It may have honestly been a case of some slumlords wanting to screw the city for b-b-b-billions, but the precedent is ripe for abuse. A farce indeed.
 

jmervyn

Diabloii.Net Member
llad12 said:
This decision is far reaching.

/***SNIP***/

This decision is ripe for corruption.

/***SNIP***/

Whatever happen to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness?

/***SNIP***/

(see Jman ... there are times we actually can agree ;) )
OMG, I'm even starting to sound like you! Shoot me now, before I start singing the Internationale! :-D
 

Darnoc

Diabloii.Net Member
So, any town can bulldoze your house if they feel a quicki-mart would be better suited on your property?!

I heard about this when I woke up and couldn't believe this BS. I wonder how much various casino's and commercial buisnesses had to pay those justices to pass this..
 

Freemason

Banned
Holy crap! llad, jmervyn and I agree on something at the same time! Break out the beer and boobies it's time for a fiesta! :clap:

Under NO circumstances should a local or state government be allowed to remove you from your home in order to allow a developer to build the next big-box store or resort or any other structure for the sole purpose of adding tax revenue to the city, county or state's coffers. Apparently the SCOTUS believes that you don't own your land, it belongs to Mayor Bubba and his corrupt cronies.

You're really going to find this wild. Edward Abbey was dead on about how to deal with land raping developers. A few here will know what I'm talking about.
 
Freemason said:
Holy crap! llad, jmervyn and I agree on something at the same time! Break out the beer and boobies it's time for a fiesta! :clap:
Good god. My feet are feeling cold again. Chill wind blowing up from the ground...
 

AeroJonesy

Diabloii.Net Member
This thread should be stickied. It's proof that me, Smeg, Jmerv, Llad, and seemingly everyone who has posted in it can agree. I thought the news was supposed to bring up divisive issues. Part of me is disappointed. The remaining part is going for a drink.
 

Garbad_the_Weak

Diabloii.Net Member
Mac is right (God, its in the water - now we are all agreeing with the enemy), this is nothing new. The only new thing was if eminent domain could extend to taking private property for private economic development purposes as opposed to for a public work like a highway. And let me guess, they used that ridiculous Hawaii land case as precedent.

The controvesy revolves around this phrase in the Constitution: "Nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation." IE, the homeowners argue the takings clause of the constitution cannot justify the taking because the property is not being taken for "public" use, but rather for a corporation's priviate use and is thus a illegitimate use of goverment power. But since when did liberals need to justify their socialist bleatings based on the constitution? Suck my "evolving standards" and "interstate commerce" you capitalist libertarian whores.

So yeah, if a socialist city economic planner thinks someone else can use your property more efficiently than you (and efficiency is defined as tax base as funneled to the bureaucrats) then the city can take it. So basically the city's right to maximize tax revenue from all property in the city limits is more important than you right to your land.

Ok, I didn't actually read the Constitution, the news, the case, or even my property law books on this subject, but this is my official semieducated opinion based on my notoriously faulty memory. Take with a grain of salt. -_-

Garbad
 

jmervyn

Diabloii.Net Member
DrunkCajun said:
Good god. My feet are feeling cold again. Chill wind blowing up from the ground...
I think we all know what this means...
Dr. Raymond Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath-of-God type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the sky. Rivers and seas boiling.
Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness. Earthquakes, volcanoes...
Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria.
 

Freemason

Banned
Don't forget that land developers are the people that ensure I have a job. And even an evil conservative such as myself who wants to drill for oil everywhere and log everything in sight (just plant more than you cut) can't abide by people losing their homes for economic development. The developers who want to do this and their political pawns are FASCISTS. There, I've said what you're thinking. This is the kind of thing Hitler had wet dreams over.

Methinks there might be a bolt weevil infestation soon :thumbsup:
 

KillJoyBob

Diabloii.Net Member
Apparently anybody with enough money can now legally bulldoze the less fortunate out of his way (or have the local government/authorities do it).

This actually happened quite a bit (albeit not for "private" projects) back in the 60's and 70's as part "urban renewal". In both New York and San Francisco, they razed entire neighborhoods of lower income/middle-class people (usually not white) to build state sponsored projects.

My disgust is off the charts!
 

DrunkPotHead

Diabloii.Net Member
Garbad_the_Weak said:
But since when did liberals need to justify their socialist bleatings based on the constitution? Suck my "evolving standards" and "interstate commerce" you capitalist libertarian whores.

So yeah, if a socialist city economic planner thinks someone else can use your property more efficiently than you (and efficiency is defined as tax base as funneled to the bureaucrats) then the city can take it. So basically the city's right to maximize tax revenue from all property in the city limits is more important than you right to your land.
I can see this being a socialist decision. However, i disagree that it's a liberal/conservative/right/left/libertarian/republican/democrat opinion.

For the record, i disagree with the Supreme Court decision.

Just wondering... in our left/right world, where would this fall closest to?
 
DrunkPotHead said:
I can see this being a socialist decision. However, i disagree that it's a liberal/conservative/right/left/libertarian/republican/democrat opinion.

For the record, i disagree with the Supreme Court decision.

Just wondering... in our left/right world, where would this fall closest to?
Judging by the fact that the lefties, righties, and moderates of the OTF seem to be coming together on this one, for once, I'd venture a guess that it's not really anywhere on that chart.

But then again this is why the left-right chart isn't an accurate one. In theory it's pro-business, which could be considered left. In theory it's also a way for the government to take more control of the economy, making it a more socialist one.

Your guess is as good as mine. I'm voting for just downright "wrong".
 

jmervyn

Diabloii.Net Member
Freemason said:
The developers who want to do this and their political pawns are FASCISTS. There, I've said what you're thinking. This is the kind of thing Hitler had wet dreams over.
Then again, this reeks of the sort of collectivization that communist regimes are famous for...
 
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