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Old 06-23-2005, 07:54 AM   #1
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High Court Rules Gov'ts Can Seize Property

I just love our government!

High Court Rules Gov'ts Can Seize Property
Thursday, June 23, 2005

WASHINGTON — 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 now have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes in order to generate tax revenue.
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Old 06-23-2005, 08:04 AM   #2
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Yeah, that cheeses me to no end. Our city voted in a new $650 million stadium for the Dallas Cowboys; I voted against it. Now, people who have lived in that area are being forced out. They're given market value + $22,5000. Nice, huh?

Meanhwile, public transportation has been voted down no less than 3 times. We are the biggest city in the US that doesn't have public transportation. Priorities, huh?
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Old 06-23-2005, 08:08 AM   #3
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The whole thing is just really shitty. Our government is a joke.

Public transportation is become a joke as well over here. They have no clue as to what they are doing.
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Old 06-23-2005, 08:35 AM   #4
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this doesn't appear to be good news.
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Old 06-23-2005, 08:39 AM   #5
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Re: High Court Rules Gov'ts Can Seize Property

Quote:
Originally posted by U2Girl1978
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.
I can see that idea having some serious loop holes.
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Old 06-23-2005, 10:40 AM   #6
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Interesting that the conservative judges, that we like to bash here, voted against.
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Old 06-23-2005, 10:41 AM   #7
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The government has always been able to seize private property. Eminent Domain law serves as a limitation to that power. Next time you drive down a freeway, realize that the property under the freeway likely belonged to a private individual at some point.

The key to this case is the purpose for which the property is seized. Usually, it beomes government owned property. In this case, the property will be privately owned. It is all done in the name of redevelopment. If there is a rational basis for the government's acquisition of the land, it will be permitted.
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Old 06-23-2005, 11:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by 80sU2isBest
Priorities, huh?
That's the Republican Party for you.

Anyway, unless they said that this form of eminent domain is encoded in the Constitution, they might just be interpreting existing law, which could be changed. So if enough people petition their Congressmen, maybe they'll dump that ridiculous flag burning amendment and actually do something worthwhile for once.

Melon
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Old 06-23-2005, 11:31 AM   #9
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The talk radio stations here are angry about this. I have to admit I am not thrilled about this ruling either. They are blamming the liberals for this.

Either way, it sucks.




I feel sorry for those who are losing their homes to a development retail, gym, and office space.



[q]upreme Court Rules Cities May Seize Homes

By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 17 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - A divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses against their will for private development in a decision anxiously awaited in communities where economic growth often is at war with individual property rights.
ADVERTISEMENT

The 5-4 ruling — assailed by dissenting Justice
Sandra Day O'Connor as handing "disproportionate influence and power" to the well-heeled in America — was a defeat for Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They had 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 now have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes in order to generate tax revenue.

The case was one of six resolved by justices on Thursday. Among those still pending for the court, which next meets on Monday, is one testing the constitutionality of displaying the Ten Commands on government property.

Writing for the court's majority in Thursday's ruling, Justice
John Paul Stevens said local officials, not federal judges, know best in deciding whether a development project will benefit the community. States are within their rights to pass additional laws restricting condemnations if residents are overly burdened, he said.

"The city has carefully formulated an economic development plan that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including — but by no means limited to — new jobs and increased tax revenue," Stevens wrote.

Stevens was joined in his opinion by other members of the court's liberal wing — David H. Souter,
Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer. The bloc typically has favored greater deference to cities, which historically have used the takings power for urban renewal projects that benefit the lower and middle class.

They were joined by Reagan appointee Justice
Anthony Kennedy in rejecting the conservative principle of individual property rights. Critics had feared that would allow a small group of homeowners to stymie rebuilding efforts that benefit the city through added jobs and more tax revenue for social programs.

"It is not for the courts to oversee the choice of the boundary line nor to sit in review on the size of a particular project area," Stevens wrote.

O'Connor argued that cities should not have unlimited authority to uproot families, even if they are provided compensation, simply to accommodate wealthy developers.

"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random," she wrote. "The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."

Connecticut residents involved in the lawsuit expressed dismay and pledged to keep fighting.

"It's a little shocking to believe you can lose your home in this country," said resident Bill Von Winkle, who said he would refuse to leave his home, even if bulldozers showed up. "I won't be going anywhere. Not my house. This is definitely not the last word."

Scott Bullock, an attorney for the Institute for Justice representing the families, added: "A narrow majority of the court simply got the law wrong today and our Constitution and country will suffer as a result."

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, Conn., 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.

Connecticut state Rep. Ernest Hewett, D-New London, a former mayor and city council member who voted in favor of eminent domain, said the decision "means a lot for New London's future."

The lower courts had been divided on the issue, with many allowing a taking only if it eliminates blight.

Nationwide, more than 10,000 properties were threatened or condemned in recent years, according to the Institute for Justice, a Washington public interest law firm representing the New London homeowners.

New London, a town of less than 26,000, once was a center of the whaling industry and later became a manufacturing hub. More recently the city has suffered the kind of economic woes afflicting urban areas across the country, with losses of residents and jobs.

City officials envision a commercial development that would attract tourists to the Thames riverfront, complementing an adjoining Pfizer Corp. research center and a proposed Coast Guard museum.

New London was backed in its appeal by the National League of Cities, which argued that a city's eminent domain power was critical to spurring urban renewal with development projects such Baltimore's Inner Harbor and Kansas City's Kansas Speedway.

Under the ruling, residents still will be entitled to "just compensation" for their homes as provided under the Fifth Amendment. However, Kelo and the other homeowners had refused to move at any price, calling it an unjustified taking of their property.

The case is Kelo et al v. City of New London, 04-108. [/q]
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Old 06-23-2005, 11:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon


That's the Republican Party for you.
Myself, my mother, and my brother all voted for Public Transportation and against the Cowboys Stadium. And all 3 of us are - you guessed it - Republicans.

Besides, did you not notice that it was the more liberally minded of the Supreme Court who voted for this?
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Old 06-23-2005, 11:43 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by 80sU2isBest
Besides, did you not notice that it was the more liberally minded of the Supreme Court who voted for this?
Exactly!
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Old 06-23-2005, 11:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon


That's the Republican Party for you.



Melon
oops,

did you leap before you looked
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Old 06-23-2005, 12:14 PM   #13
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In all fairness, I think melon was specifically referring to the city of Arlington voting in a sales tax increase for the Cowboys stadium but turning down a sales tax increase for public transportation.

Although I have no idea how he knows that it was Republicans who did that. I live in Arlington and I don't even know the figures.
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Old 06-23-2005, 01:16 PM   #14
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My great grandparents had their land taken for developing a highway, of course they were compensated for it, and they didn't mind that they had to move for it was for the better of the city. Their only gripe was that they had 8 relatives' graves in the backyard and they had to be dug up.

But for the private sector??? Screw that, poor decision.
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Old 06-23-2005, 01:41 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by 80sU2isBest
In all fairness, I think melon
good to see a self-labeled "Conservative Christian."

Advocating fairness

for a self-declared gay man.



(cues up Clinton theme song
"don't stop thinking about tomorrow")
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