Sunday, August 19, 2012

What Might Be a Reason to Invoke 'Eminent Domain"?

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!

10 comments:

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

I'm for strippers on principle.

John said...

I'm opposed to this grand misuse of eminent domain for the benefit of private industry. It's another example of corruption where corporate interests bribe public officials into doing what's in the best interest of the corporation with a scrap or two tossed to the community.

Dianne said...

I often feel that we're not to far from a place where rich people can just run us down in their limos because it's easier than stopping

Banana Oil said...

This use of eminent domain is so easily misused, it's not funny.

Mike said...

There are example of misuse of eminent domain everywhere. All in the name of the almighty dollar.

The Kelo case is the perfect example of what a bunch of assholes in city hall can do to a person. The woman was forced out of her home for a private development in the name of the almighty tax dollar. Her house was torn down. The private development fell through. Her land is now a city dump.

Big Sky Heidi said...

With this Supreme Court decision, there needs to be some hard and fast limits on how eminent domain is used. The Kelo case was disgusting.

Bilbo said...

Between decisions like Kelo and Citizens United, you have to wonder what the members of the Supreme Court are thinking. Good, tongue-in-cheek post pointing up a very serious issue.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Thank you for your thoughts. I am very serious about the dangers that can come from this overly broad interpretation as to what constitutes 'the public interest.' And as Mike observed, the end products may be quite a lot less than advertised.

I'm with former Pres. Reagan on this when he said that the scariest words are "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you."

Clarissa said...

THis can be something scary. Did either political party make a stand pro or con?

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Is that a stripper in Utah?