A discussion on Eminent Domain.

Land war goes before Supreme Court: Homeowners ask justices to block city’s use of eminent domain – CNN.Com

WASHINGTON (CNN)—A fight by homeowners to save their New London, Connecticut, neighborhood from city officials and private developers—an important property rights case with an unusual twist—will reach the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday.

This case before the Supreme court relates to the reach of eminent domain. Eminent domain basically means that the state can take your land, if such taking is for the public good and that there is reasonable compensation. The main question in such cases is usually what is the definition of public good. It generally refers to construction of highways, schools or that perhaps the area is a slum or is “blighted” and needs to be cleared. The question is whether can eminent domain be used by the state to take (with compensation) the land from one individual (home owners) and give it to another private individual (Pfizer corp). In this discussion, let us examine the various issues separately.

1) Basic Principle:
What is your bottom line on the usage of eminent domain. Do you believe that:
A) NO: Never be used in ANY circumstances.
B) PUBLIC ONLY: Used only for public purpose – Highways, schools, etc.
C) NO PRIVATE: Never used for private purpose – Even if say the company wants to invest $100billion in the area to create jobs and that there is only one person who refuses to sell.
D) SIGNIFICANT PRIVATE: Used for private purpose – If it is shown that there is significant benefit to the community, that also significanly outweighs the cost.
E) BALANCED INTEREST: As long as on a balance of interest there is greater benefit to the community, such as increased taxes from the new entity.

2) Interest:
If you believe in the wider (private) use of eminent domain but you are hesitant with regards to evaluation reports on the so called benefits, then your protest should be here, rather than the principle itself. Also protest about possible corruption of state officials should be directed here, since presumably a corrupted state official in the hands of the private company, would make us question the validity of the benefits report.

3) Private/Public:
Why is there is divide between private and public purposes? Should not the test be one for the community? After all a high-tech research facility (Pfizer) or a car manufacturing plant (GM in Detriot) that creates jobs in the area, may be more beneficial than a highway to nowhere. It could be argued that a private purpose only benefits the workers and perhaps its suppliers but a highway or school similarly only benefits those who drive (or takes the bus?) or have children. It could also be argued that the state should not “subsidize” one private corporation over another. But if that help results in the creation of several thousand jobs, is it really that bad?

4) Compensation:
If you are complaining about the amount paid, then obviously your protest should be the formula for calculation of the compensation rather than principle.

5) Big Corporations: Evil
If you are protesting this because you generally or as a principle protest anything that big corporation does, then this is your port of call.

So what is your opinion on eminent domain. Aye or Nay?

6 thoughts on “A discussion on Eminent Domain.

  1. I haven’t looked into this very much, but my gut reaction is “no private” with some additional concern about the compensation aspects.

  2. In this particular case, it isn’t that they’re giving the land to Pfizer, but that they seek to develop a hotel and stores so that the people getting these new jobs at Pfizer will be able to shop and spend the night—or something. In New London, there is plenty of blighted, abandoned blocks readily available for this sort of thing—though it’s not on the waterfront. So the city wants to displace a neighborhood—which is NOT a slum or blighted area by any stretch—for the benefit of private companies who MAY bring jobs or tourists to the area. MAY. It’s not even clear how many jobs Pfizer will be creating, or how long they will last.

    What’s more, these companies will be getting so many tax breaks for so long the (hopefully) increased traffic will not be offset by increased tax revenue to handle the infrastructure demands, which are huge.

    Not only that, in our state, you don’t negotiate what the town or the state is going to pay for your property. They say, “You’re gone, we’re giving you $xx—tough shit and buh bye.” Doesn’t matter if you can’t afford to buy another house somewhere else for what the state is paying you—according to their fair market value formula, you’re lucky if you can anything livable, let alone as good as you had it.

    So when is it really ok for the gub’mint to take away someone’s house to build a hotel or a store? What if it were your house?

  3. It would seem that PUBLIC ONLY and NO PRIVATE are about the same, unless I’m missing something.  I’d go with public only.  If private business wants it, they can pay the premium.

    I don’t like the idea of private biz getting to do eminent domain.  I’ve seen a few in Dallas that would build office buildings, then move out in a year or two. 

    I remember a show on the Big Dig in Boston talking about how some of the roads that it’s replacing were built on property obtained through eminent domain for a ridiculously low amount to the homeowners. 

    One of the highways here in Texas (121) that’s getting made into a nonstop won’t have offramps in one town b/c the company that owns the frontage land wouldn’t sell for what the govt said it was worth.  There won’t be frontage roads built for it in that town, but I don’t know what will happen to the current highway layout in that town, since it’s a divided highway with a large median, so the nonstop would seemingly run down the middle.

  4. Oh I just thought of something!  Now any of you 2 or more brain cellers here most likely were introduced to this in college but humor me for a moment and allow me to reintroduce it to you:

    The 10 Measures of Communism

    1.Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
    2.A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
    3.Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
    4.Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
    5.Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
    6.Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.
    7.Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
    8.Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
    9.Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
    10.Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc.

    “To each according to his means, from each according to his means”-it’s liberalism as it exists today, correct?  Note that the communists speak in terms of oppressed and oppressor, guilty rich, and noble worker, just like the Democrats. It’s almost as if the libs of today actually hover around the Communist Manifesto in some dank office somewhere, gleefully celebrating each victory (devil horns and all), each time they can turn one of those 10 points in to a reality.

    Take special note of number one-just for right now-and WHO were the deciding votes-and then try to tell me this is not a liberal/conservative issue.  Don’t bury your head in the sand like that.  We already have nine of those and all are related to BIG GOVERNMENT. Who was the first to expand government perversely? A LIBERAL: FDR.  Any arguments, folks?

    Most Americans don’t realize the stated goals of communism, and that the means to achieve those goals are at work in our society today-by the party of BIG government. It’s as plain as the nose on their collective faces.  What a damn shame.

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