Friday, June 26, 2015

Eminent Domain Seizures Problematic : Oversite Needed

Eminent domain seizures of property under the 5th amendment of the Constitution is troubling at best and criminal at worst. These proposal from the Heritage are a good start but this is in need of a lot of oversight.

The two most basis tenants of the our Constitution is individual freedom to chose and the other is ownership of property. Both are effected by eminent domain seizures.

Local politicians are always looking for ways to gather more revenue and pad their own beds with cash, and what better way to do that is to take what some else has and then use it to benefit themslevss and like mind individuals. This should be made very hard to do even if it is for the betterment of the public at large.

Congress Should Protect Property Owners
Source: Daren Bakst, "A Decade After Kelo: Time for Congress to Protect American Property Owners," Heritage Foundation, June 22, 2015.

June 24, 2015

On June 23, 2005, the United States Supreme Court held in Kelo v. City of New London that the government could seize private property and transfer it to another private party for economic development. This type of taking was deemed to be for a "public use" and allowed under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Thanks to Kelo:
  • If a city claims a certain privately owned property would generate additional tax revenue, create more jobs, or even simply make the city more attractive if owned by another private party, that city can use the power of eminent domain to seize the property.
  • Private-property ownership has become a precarious proposition, subject to the economic development whims of the government.
What should Congress do? They could address economic development and closely related takings. There are many ways legislation can address these takings, but there are some important considerations that Congress should remember:
  • Creating a burden of proof. Since there may be multiple reasons for taking property, the government should ideally prove that it would have seized the property even if there were no economic development benefit.
  • Addressing Blight Abuse. Any legislation should expressly address the abuse of blight laws. "Blight" should not be so broadly defined to cover almost anything. Only property that itself is blighted should be allowed to be taken; non-blighted properties should not be seized on the grounds that they are located in an alleged blighted area.
  • Private Right of Action. Private property owners should be able to challenge takings under any new law in court.
It is easy to see why there is such wide support for addressing Kelo. This support, in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the infamous case, should give Congress a real chance to enact protections for property owners. The American dream of owning a home should no longer be threatened by the nightmare of eminent domain abuse.

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