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High court OKs personal property seizures

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses -- even against their will -- for private economic development.

It was a decision fraught with huge implications for a country with many areas, particularly the rapidly growing urban and suburban areas, facing countervailing pressures of development and property ownership 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 have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes to generate tax revenue.

Local officials, not federal judges, know best in deciding whether a development project will benefit the community, justices 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," Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority.

He was joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

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, Connecticut, 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.

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.

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.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/06/23/scotus.property.ap/index.html

*FW Note:

So there it is. An individual has "property rights" only so long as another wealthier individual doesn't have an econimic interest in that property.

I think that it is important to remember that ALL RIGHTS ARE DECENDANT FROM PROPERTY RIGHTS. If you have no property rights, you have no rights. If the government can toy with one, it can toy with them all.

If property rights are forfeited by law, then what is prevent abusers of the law from saying that you own, and may own, nothing? Not even your own person, thoughts, or voice?

Eminent Domain/Government sanctioned theft of private property is not a new issue, but it is my opinion that there was no justice in this decision. This is just big people walking on little people.

:evil:
 

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This is the worst of some very recent and very bad court decisions.

The fifth ammendment specifically refers to "public use." The justices had to ignore the constitution to come to this ruling.

A main part of the problem is that due largely to a government monopoly on education most people don't know that the main purpose of the constitution is to LIMIT the power of the federal government. Americans don't know what there government is for and what it is not. They think the government's role is to engineer the best society; not to protect liberty.

This decision is appalling. The lack of reaction among the public at large will be even more so.

John
 

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Folks I've been telling ya for years this country is going to **** in a handbasket and right now we're well over the top and on that long slippery slope down the back side.

I do not believe there is time left to recover freedom in this country thru the ballot. Folks just do not care what is in the best interest of the nation or the people of it once elected. We're to the point now where it will one day (and likely not so long in the future) this country will have less freedoms than did Russia under communism. It will be like China is now. We'll have to ask for permission from the government to go take a crap.

Only then after many years of this will enough people wake up to try to take back freedom from the government that has taken it while claiming to give it. With the technology they have today I'm not sure it can be regained either. As long as the military doesn't turn against them I do not believe it can be.
 

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So lets see...now the development cartel can appeal to government to condemn private property for their own development and profit, in violation of the fifth amendment, and if the government goes along with it you can save a bundle. If proper capitalistic market forces worked properly in the Kelo/New London case than the private parties would have sold their properties at the going price with no court intervention. Now ambitious developers can get a govmob discount below market for their projects......what a great idea!


..................................TM7
 

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Another point is the same government entity condemning or seizing your land is also accepting reelection contributions from big corporations. There is nothing to say this corporations will even be US companies. I agree this is a giant [/color]RED FLAG[/color] and indicates the US heading towards a society where money and influence means everything and individual rights mean nothing, or worse, are a threat to the powers that be.

I once was reading about feudal society, where the lords of the kingdom gave and took land as they pleased, and expected a yearly payment in horses, wheat, soldiers or whatever, and I thought how unfair that must have been; failure to pay resulted in the land being seized. Then I realized that's the exact situation we have now, only they call it property taxes, eminent domain, or saving the spotted owl. The Lords are the elected elite, put up for our token voting by the big money. Even trial by jury and the right to a hearing before a magistrate is gone. You can be locked away on charges of being a terrorist and they don't ever let you see daylight again. Our press now defends this practice, or don't bother to question it. Torture is now being touted as the way to "Save the US", this trial balloon is not drawing much attention either. The only thing missing is a draft or forced labor. The government has learned not to take big bites of our rights, they just nibble away, every day ,in every way.
 

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Graybeard said:
Folks I've been telling ya for years this country is going to **** in a handbasket and right now we're well over the top and on that long slippery slope down the back side.

I do not believe there is time left to recover freedom in this country thru the ballot. Folks just do not care what is in the best interest of the nation or the people of it once elected. We're to the point now where it will one day (and likely not so long in the future) this country will have less freedoms than did Russia under communism. It will be like China is now. We'll have to ask for permission from the government to go take a crap.

Only then after many years of this will enough people wake up to try to take back freedom from the government that has taken it while claiming to give it. With the technology they have today I'm not sure it can be regained either. As long as the military doesn't turn against them I do not believe it can be.
Indeed, sir. I was thinking about this a couple of weeks ago, how it feels like the country is so polarized and everything is just going from bad to worse. I got to wondering just how much longer will the republic last. But everyone feels like they live in the end times, I told myself. What indicators do we have that the end of the republic has begun? The first thing that popped into my head was the whole illegal immigrant issue. The fact that this controversy even exists shows that a good portion of the American government (and perhaps population) has lost its marbles. When the notion that people coming to America should do so legally, obey our laws, and speak our language is cause for controversy, I'd say the inmates are officially running the assylum. And now the very cornerstone of individual freedom and liberty has been smashed. Praise God and pass the ammunition.
 

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One thing everyone needs to remember about this discussion is that it's the STATE that's taking your land, not the federal government. The reason (IMHO, but i've researched and written on this topic) this ever came about is because of a unique plurality of States-Rights judges and Liberal wealth-redistributing judges. (Read Hawaii Housing Authority v Midkiff if you're confused).

Today's ruling showed a significant swing in the court (9-0 for Hawaii and 5-4 for Kelo). I think as the issue resonates more with people and becomes more wide spread it will swing back in line with what most American's believe was intended.

Another thing everyone should pay attention to is that each state has the right to limit ED. Some states have already done so, most have discussed it. Call you STATE reps and senators. Tell them you'd like protection from seizure for private gain.

Finally remember the distinction between ED for private gain and for clearly public works. If there was no ED in this country nothing would ever get done. ED dates back to midevil England and was common here in colonial times because it's the only way to get public works projects accomplished. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater here. Remember that the true issue is taking for PRIVATE good... not all public condemnations.
 

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Gee, it used to be that bulldozers and heavy wrecking equipment wouldn't move with holes in the windshields or high pressure lines. I seem to recall that as a kid, vandalism caused incredible delays and huge cost overruns to heavy equipment contractors. At some point early in the game, equipment damage costs would far outweigh the profit margin the contractor could expect and projects like that would be stalled for a long time.

I can understand O'Connor's concern about how this would be able to shift a focus away from individual rights, but then why the **** did she agree to it???

This would be like a developer buying the property above me, using influence to obtain development rights and taking my lands for his septic system. I don't think so.............................. Mikey.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yes, it's important to remember that it's the state taking action, but it's equally important to remember that the federal government has given them the "all clear" to employ and move ahead with these blatant land confiscation tactics without regard to the rights of the individual.

And yes, ED has existed in one form or another for centuries. Since man has laid claim to property, there has been someone ready to steal it from him. There has always been abusive government. there have always been thieves.

But like rape, murder, incest, and armed robbery, the fact that something has a established history does not make it right.


"Law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual." ~~Thomas Jefferson

:x
 

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This is just another in a series of cases where the progressives (liberals) on the court have found something in the Constitution that does not exist.

This should be good for President Bush if he gets a chance to nominate one or more justices to the Supreme Court. Hopefully, he will nominate only those who will apply the Constitution as it is written not as liberals wish it to be. The liberals just lost some of their argument that the court needs to be flexible and creative.
 

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Heard on the radio today 350 to 400 ED cases are pending and moving forward based on this decision.
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As for Mr. Bush--I'm not so sure he, and his camp, disapprove of this decision [although his words may claim otherwise]. In fact, I think his whole m.o. is steered toward corporate facilitation.

.................TM7
 

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Seriously, read Hawaii Housing:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=467&invol=229

The significance of this case is two fold. One is that some of the judges who decided it, specifically switched their vote. O'Conner wrote the dissent (meaning she DID NOT agree with the ruling) and the majority in Hawaii. This means that both she and Rhenquist have officially changed their vote from Hawaii. Now if you read Hawaii you'll figure out why. Hawaii was different from the current line of "economic development" cases. It dealt with land redistribution (something every liberal judge loves) but it also dealt with state's-rights (something most conservative judges love). As such a unique majority was formed for decidedly different reasons. Since then it has become obvious that Hawaii had implications far beyond what was intended. With no significant check on their power the states could declare a "public use" whenever they wanted.
The fact that two judges ignored their own precedent is significant. Judges simply don't do that. It shows an understanding for the error that was made in the past and it also (I believe) bodes well for a future change in ruling.

Here's the second big implication here: Every state can and will decide for themselves what consistutes a public taking. Now to protect private property rights voters need to make their state legislators hear them. Here's a news link from before the ruling about proposed legislation in Colorado: http://www.propertyrightsresearch.org/2004/articles2/council_spars_over_eminent_domai.htm

Here's a bill from KS: http://www.kslegislature.org/bills/2004/547.pdf

The duty has fallen (rightly or wrongly) on each individual state goverment to set limits. Yes, it would have been great if the Supreme Court would have done it, but that's not reality. Now call and write and talk to your local officials. Let them know that you (and a majority of your neighbors) feel strongly about protecting individual property rights.

FWiedner said:
But like rape, murder, incest, and armed robbery, the fact that something has a established history does not make it right.
The fifth amendment says:
... nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
I guess you can argue that you don't like the Bill of Rights, but that clause was included specifically to both protect property owners AND public works. Is your argument that the founders who wisely included the first and second amendments (among others) just screwed up on the fifth? Do you believe that they actually meant it so say, "... nor shall private property be taken for public use, at all.

Is there an amendment that specifically carves out rape, murder, incest, and armed robbery? Of course not, and that's why the rhetoric doesn't help. You're quite right that establishing something historically doesn't make it right. Establishing something in the Constitution (by way of an amendment) DOES make it legal.

I'll add one more thing, here's a resource that's both helpful and near and dear to my heart. My frequent hunting partner and fiance is the author:
http://washburnlaw.edu/wlj/44-2/articles/fall.pdf
 

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In the Kelo-New London case the 'fair compensation' requirement is highly diregarded. Developers are getting a steal; a governmental five finger discount.
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'For the betterment of the public' test is highly subjective. I believe the public is better served by NO further rampant development and its affect on the local environment.


..................................TM7
 

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Discussion Starter #14
dukkillr said:
I guess you can argue that you don't like the Bill of Rights, but that clause was included specifically to both protect property owners AND public works. Is your argument that the founders who wisely included the first and second amendments (among others) just screwed up on the fifth?
I'm not arguing anything, I'm stating plainly that I don't like anything that allows the politically powerful to prey on the weak for profit. Anything that gives souless bureaucrats, lawyers, and politicians authority to steal the property of other humans against their will, even with supposedly "just compensation" is morally wrong. No ifs, ands, or buts.

It may be legal, but it's not right. It's not fair, it's not just, it's not moral, and it harms people.

No government should be able to separate a man from his home or his rightful property.

If it never happens under any other circumstance, this is one action of government that should be met directly, and zealously resisted by force of arms.

.
 

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Fred,

This 'eminent domain' crap has finally shoved me over the top. I am smokin hot about it.[/color] Not only are out 2nd amendment rights under constant and severe attack; now we only rent our property.

Load um up and get ready or be just we the sheeple!! I literally have tears in my eyes right now. Is there something wrong with me?

Dave 8)
 

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For those who are interested here is the link to the opinion of the court in the Kelo case.

http://ij.org/pdf_folder/private_property/kelo/kelo-USSC-opinion-6-05.pdf

What I think is going to happen, sadly for all, is that some sherriff's deputy trying to evict somebody from a house they didn't want to sell is going to get shot.

I believe that after an LEO gets shot for doing a job he should never be asked to do, and shouldn't do if he/she has a shred of integrity, we will go flying down the gun confiscation superhighway. look for us to turn in our guns in the next 20 years.

Rummer
 

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Rummer good point.....but I think 'they' will shut down the internet first or at least curtail it -- sort of chinese style.


..........................TM7
 

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Hey, why don't the suprem court justice's just go over to the Smithsonian, bust the CONSTITUION out of the case take it to the steps of the capital and take a whiz on it for good measure. :p
This decision equals the same thing anyway.
(sorry for being so nasty, but this just gets my goat!)
 

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One time I thought the Republicans were are conservative friends. Boy that change! All the Supreme Court Judges but 2 were appointed by the Republicans. Also what has GWB done but sell the country down the tubes? If I bother to vote anymore you can bet it will be for a third party.Anyone really think GWB would appoint a judge that is worried about our freedoms?? LOL Look what he has done as far as are rights go
 

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Exactly which right has President Bush taken away from you?

The fact that some of the judges who voted for this abomination were appointed by Republicans, doesn't mean that these judges are conservative. These are not the first and they won't be the last justices who have been very disappointing to the party that backed them.

My question is; do you think this decision would have been different if even more of the justices had been appointed by Democrat presidents? Did any justice appointed by a Democrat come down on the opposition side of this issue?
 
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