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John Wayne's Holster: Eminent Domain - The Divine Right of Corporations
John Wayne's Holster
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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Eminent Domain - The Divine Right of Corporations

Imagine for a moment that you are the CEO of a major corporation and you want to build a new riverfront facility. Tack on a resort hotel, conference center, some research labs, as well as commercial and office space, and you stand to make a handsome profit. During the planning phase, you realize that part of the property you want to build on is a residential neighborhood with privately owned homes. What’s a CEO to do? I suppose you could buy-out the property owners. But what if they don’t want to sell? You would have to look for land elsewhere, right?

WRONG! You can actually have their property seized and turned over to you – at fair market value of course. And it’s legal – at least according to the Supreme Court.

The Court ruled Thursday, in Kelo v. New London, that local governments may seize people’s homes and property for private economic development. The 5-4 ruling was based, apparently very loosely, on “eminent domain”, as laid out in the Bill of Rights.

According to the 5th Amendment, private property can only be taken for public use. For example, it is legitimate for a state to take possession of property, with just compensation to the owner, for the construction of roads, schools or other assets that will be owned and used by the public. The Bill of Rights makes no provisions for the forceful dispossession of one’s property for the private use of another. That’s tyranny! But that is exactly what is happening.

Under the ruling, your property can be taken from you, against your will, and given to a private individual or group, for the construction of a for-profit enterprise. In fact, it has already happened! In Topeka, private property was seized for the construction of a Target distribution facility, and in Las Vegas, property was seized for the construction of a casino parking lot! It doesn’t stop there. In New York, property was seized near Times Square for the construction of the headquarters of the New York Times and other “renewal” projects. And the scarey part is that these are not isolated cases. The Institure for Justice (IJ), a libertarian public interest law firm, has compiled thousands of cases across the country were property is being taken from individuals, against their will, and turned over to private parties.

What does the mean for the average citizen? In a dissenting statement issued by Justice O’Conner, “Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party…The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including the large corporations and development firms”. I guess it was inevitable being that corporations own both parties, and in essence, run the country.

Advocates of the ruling argue that it serves the “good of the community”. Let me see… making the individual subservient to the common good …where have I heard that before? I bet Stalin would be so proud.

As Midnight Oil sing in "The Best of Both Worlds", "Who can stand in the way, when there's a dollar to be made.


At 5:54 PM, Anonymous Roy said...

I completely agree, it is scary to see private property laws being stolen and given to other private individuals. I was outraged when cities began enforcing "grooming standards" on houses. It is one thing if you belong to a HOA but if you own private property it should be for your private use so long as you are not committing illegal activities on your property. I dont care if the neighbor does not mow his lawn it is his property therefore none of my business. But everyone loves high property values. I guess term private property needs an asterisk in this country.


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