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Meanwhile, as We Fight for Freedom Abroad…

June 23rd, 2005 at 1:09 pm by Preston Taylor Holmes

The tyrannical judiciary that runs our country continues to take away our freedoms at home.

SCOTUS ruled today that cities and other local municipalities may seize PRIVATE PERSONAL PROPERTY if that city or municipality decides that such a seizure serves a broadly defined “public use”.

I’m sure you’ve heard about eminent domain abuse – if you’ve listened to Neal Boortz for any time at all, you are probably familiar with several eminent domain abuse cases. SCOTUS ruled today on just such a case in New London, CT, effectively overturning the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. A Constitutional refresher:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

In the New London case, the owners of the homes who were getting driven out by the city weren’t interested in selling at any price.

A group of homeowners in New London’s Fort Trumbull area had fought the city’s attempt to impose eminent domain, arguing that their property could be seized only to serve a clear public use such as building roads or schools or to eliminate blight. The homeowners, some of whom had lived in their house for decades, also argued that the public would benefit from the proposed project only if it turned out to be successful, making the “public use” requirement subject to the eventual performance of the private business venture.

The Fifth Amendment also requires “just compensation” for the owners, but that was not an issue in the case decided today because the homeowners did not want to give up their property at any price.

So the message from the Low Court is “you don’t wanna sell, then we take anyway, get your asses off the property!”

And what was the “public use” that was so important that these people have to have their homes seized?

In a 5-4 decision, the court upheld the ability of New London, Conn., to seize people’s homes to make way for an office, residential and retail complex supporting a new $300 million research facility of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company. The city had argued that the project served a public use within the meaning of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution because it would increase tax revenues, create jobs and improve the local economy.

So the bullies with the cash, in conjunction with a court that loves nothing more than complete governmental control of everything it can get its hands on, have been given the legal go-ahead to take a shit on these property owners.

At least Justice John Paul Stevens was willing to spell it out so that it’s exceedingly clear: cities who want more tax revenue are now legally allowed to take any property they wish, no matter who owns that property. If the city says $15,000 is a “fair” price for your $100,000 home, what are you going to do about it? Nothing, that’s what.

Stevens: “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.”

Surprisingly, Justice Sinead O’Connor landed on the right side of this one:

In a strongly worded dissenting opinion, O’Connor wrote that the majority’s decision overturns a long-held principle that eminent domain cannot be used simply to transfer property from one private owner to another.

“Today the Court abandons this long-held, basic limitation on government power,” she wrote. “Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded — i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public — in the process.”

If you’re a big-government leftist who doesn’t mind losing the right to own private property, then bully for you. For the rest of us, this is a catastrophic attack on individual liberty by one of the biggest opponents of personal freedom we have today – the Supreme Court.

UPDATE:

The Commissar has a good round up of reaction. It’s too early to tell whether or not the Commissar is chillin’ regarding this ruling – I will let you know as that news breaks.

A monster-sized roundup at Arguing With Signposts where they’ve been going at it all afternoon.

SEMI-RELATED:

Developers use Eminent Domain to acquire White House, George and Laura to be evicted forthwith.


7 Responses to “Meanwhile, as We Fight for Freedom Abroad…”

  1. Kevin Says:

    If the city says $15,000 is a “fair� price for your $100,000 home, what are you going to do about it? Nothing, that’s what.

    I agree with you that the expansion of the definition of “public use” is disturbing as hell. On the other hand, the homewoners can still slug it out on the issue of “just compensation.” Of course, you usually will have to hire an attorney and an appraiser, but a court, not the city, state or other governmental entity that takes the property, will utlimately determine “fair value” if the government isn’t paying you what you reasonably believe it should be paying. Not that this makes taking my home to make way from some drug company’s research lab any less tough to take. Almost ANY commercial project will “increase tax revenue” over what a residence will generate, so where does this end?

  2. Preston Taylor Holmes Says:

    That’s the question, Kevin. This just opens the door for a wide ranging host of definitions of both “public use” and “just compensation”. How is it going to end? I’m pretty damn sure it’s going to end badly – the more latitude that government has to run roughshod over our personal liberties the quicker those liberties are going to disappear. The GOP will align themselves with the big $$$ and the Libs love the increased tax revenues for their ever-expanding government “progrums”. Once again, we’re left without a line of defense against government – especially after the courts give the green light to confiscation of private property. I’m afraid, once again, we’re fucked.

  3. Mean Ol' Meany Says:

    Fascism From the Left
    While Republicans are continually assailed as the Nazis, Fascists, compared to Hitler and the like, the Left quietly sneaks in and does in one fell swoop what they blame on the Party of Lincoln.

  4. Eric Says:

    As an employee of the feddle gubmint, I am hereby confiscating this blog and all traffic herein. I’ll give you fitty cents for it.

    :mrgreen:

  5. In Search Of Utopia Says:

    Cruisin’ my way through Blogistan!
    You almost had me Rusty… Almost. LMAO! Another crazy online video! More to come…. Diaper changing Break! Dont let the Ministry of Propaganda sieze PBS! Shabooty, that is just sick… Sick I tell ya! Tom Cruise is GAY? Say it…

  6. j. blair Says:

    newsflash – Developers Use Eminent Domain to Acquire White House

    http://armedvictim.blogspot.com/

  7. bRight & Early Says:

    How did this happen?
    I am hearing nearly universal condemnation and outrage over the SCOTUS decisison in Kelo v. New London. What leads me to believe that this story has real “legs” is that I am hearing reactions from unusual an unexpected places. I heard co-w…

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