The right of eminent domain is ingrained as a legal principle. Specifically, a governmental entity may require a property owner to sell her or his land if there is some necessary, civic purpose to which it will be used, such as an access road to a new bridge, a tract of land for a new high school, or even a new police station.
This right of governments in the exercise of eminent domain must be for public use and just compensation must be paid. Therein there can be a problem, sometimes. This was brought out in the Supreme Court's decision in Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005), which affirmed the authority of New London, Connecticut, to take private property by eminent domain to lease to a developer because it would enhance municipal revenue.. This 5-4 decision was met by dismay in some circles. As a matter of fact, several state Supreme Courts (Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Carolina have recently ruled to disallow such takings under their state constitutions.
But how far shall this invoking of eminent domain for municipal revenues be taken? This needs to be worked out.
Let's consider Middlebrook, a small satillite community near a larger entity. Farmer Brown, a very industrious organic watercress farmer who is also very religious, was offered a considerable amount of money for a tract of his land by a developer who represented a group which intended to erect a strip joint on that sight.
The name for this spectacular den of vice: Hot Fannies! Farmer Brown said no! He wanted nothing to do with nude tushes, even though it was projected as providing far more tax money to the city than a watercress farm ever could.
The Middlebrook town council was dismayed. They see Farmer Brown as being obstinate and uncivic-minded, since they see the strip club as a revenue-generating asset. Because of the tax structure, organic watercress farms do not generate as much taxes to run the governmental engine as do Hot Fannies! So they invoked the right of eminent domain.
Should Farmer Brown, who has heartfelt moral principles, have the right to not have this particular use of eminent domain to be imposed on him? I lean toward Farmer Brown. It's not just property rights, it's the principle sometimes.
Just out of curiosity, I looked at my posting statistics. "Erin Go Braless" was my most often viewed post, at 4699! Begorrah!