Saturday, June 25, 2005

"Legal" Robbery...

This past week the United States Supreme Court made a terrible ruling. They ruled 5 to 4 in favor of eminent domain in a case that really expanded the definition of public use. Eminent domain is a legal principle that allows the government to take private property for a "public use," such as a school or roads and bridges, in exchange for just compensation. Local governments have increasingly expanded the scope of public use to include commercial entities such as shopping malls or independent retail stores. They do this because the tax revenue from a big box store will be much more than the property taxes of the existing homes. In theory these malls and big box stores increase available job in the area. This doesn’t stop at private homes, small businesses can be forced out under this ruling. 2 of the biggest offenders are Wal-Mart and Target stores. They present a plan to a city government and get the city councils to declare a section of the city to be a blight.

The case the court ruled on was based in New London Connecticut. The benefit of this ruling was the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. How does taking homes for use by a wealthy company like Pfizer fall into the category of public use?

Writing for the dissenters, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote that the court overstepped its authority. "The court today significantly expands the meaning of public use," O'Connor wrote. "It holds that the sovereign may take private property currently put to ordinary private use, and give it over for new, ordinary private use."

Where does it stop? This goes against all the principles of being an ownership society. Think we will hear a word out of our Congress? I doubt it…


Blogger Dick Maag said...

Right On! Keep it up!

2:52 PM  

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