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Eminent Domain

Friday, June 24th, 2005 · 1 Comment

I’m no expert, but it seems to me a scary precedent to set to allow government to seize private property for private development — to build a hotel and convention center for economic gain of big developers. The Fifth Amendment reads: “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Sure, a hotel and convention center may be available for public use, but they’re still private entities. To me, “public use” is something like a park or a national forest.

Supreme Court Rules Cities May Seize Homes:

NEW LONDON, Conn. — Seven homeowners in this small waterfront community lost a groundbreaking U.S. Supreme Court decision Thursday when justices ruled that City Hall may take their property through eminent domain to make way for a hotel and convention center.

Word of the high court decision spread around Bill Von Winkle’s part of town like news of a passing relative. “Hello?” he answered his cell phone. “Yeah, we lost. I know, hard to believe, huh?”

“It’s a little shocking to believe you can lose your home in this country,” said Von Winkle, who said he would battle beyond the lawsuits and fight the bulldozers if necessary. “I won’t be going anywhere.”

Yes, shocking. My reaction exactly. It’s unsettling to think that in some states and cities, the government can decide to seize and bulldoze your home and the life you’ve built, and there’s not a whole lot you can do about it. What’s the point of holding the deed to your land if the rights it gives you are subject to approval?

Castle Coalition: Citizens Fighting Eminent Domain Abuse

Tags: rants

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