I don’t know if you all have been paying attention, but the response across the nation in response to the awful ruling by the Supremes has been staggering and swift. Here is but a sample:
A new law will protect Texans against government entities that may want to seize their private property on behalf of private ventures.
“These projects, often in the name of economic development, should not come at the expense of people’s private property rights,” says Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who signed Senate Bill 7 into law this week.
“There is no bigger supporter of economic development than I. But I draw the line when government begins to pick winners and losers among competing private interests, and the loser is the poor Texan who owns the land to begin with.”
In Austin, the fate of Player’s, a popular burger joint located near the University of Texas campus, recently became the subject of eminent domain after university officials announced plans to build a new conference center and hotel.
The university was trying to acquire land around the Player’s site, located at Martin Luther King Boulevard and University Avenue, to build the conference center and hotel by 2008.
You can peruse the archives to find out what I think about Rick Perry, but from what I can tell, this is a good piece of legislation. Government shouldn’t be allowed to take land from one private entity and give it to another private entity. I will do a round-up on eminent domain sometime this week.
I absolutely agree with you on this but I’d make one exception: infrastructure. If the goverment needs the land to expand or create roadways because of congestion, then I think the benefit to the community outweighs the needs or wants of the individual. But there’s should be some serious checks involved in the process that determines that if it should happen.
But here’s something I’ve been puzzled about… why are there no calls from republicans or democrats for a constitutional amendment on this issue? And since they’re the one’s in charge and the ones that set the Congressional agenda, I’m pointing the finger with a little more emphasis at the republicans. They have time to push this bullshit about an amendment to ban gay marriage, but they are reluctant to protect the property rights of ordinary citizens when big business wants to seize their homes???
This is why we’re all fucked. Both parties are so beholding to large corporations that they’re scared shitless to do anything to oppose them. It’s just one more reason we should take ALL the money out of politics. Make all elections publically funded with capped limits on spending. Outlaw all campaign donations, including the candidate’s own money. The government owns the airwaves, so require television and radio stations to provide airtime as a condition of having their license.
As long as money is involved in politics, we’re going to have crooked politicians who will always sell us out.
I wonder how this affects BLM lands. I wonder what will be the status of N.O. Will the feds take it citing it’s national importance? Will they argue using N.O.’s historic corruption? Will they then pass it off to Haliburton, et. al.?
I think the US government has a valid claim for using eminent domain in New Orleans. The city’s entire infrastructure needs rebuilding. That is as public a purpose as I can imagine, a purpose which is at least on par with building highways and airports.
Just a “drive-by comment”, then I’m outa here again.
Renquist just died.
Now you guys got something else to argue about.
I’m still a little taken aback by how passionately many conservatives seem to have been in their desire to have the Supreme Court ignore the thrust of their prior decisions to strike down the implementation of a state law by local government.
If Texas or whoever thinks it’s good public policy to prohibit a public works project that has components which involve paying market value to transfer property from one private entity to another, that’s certainly their decision to make. There is even a strong argument that that’s the right policy to pursue. But I disagree that it was the Supreme Court’s job to tell state and local government what to do in this case.
Bruce From Missouri
I find it interesting that Republicans are going so whackadoodle over the eminent domain thing. After all, it’s something that has always benefitted republicans (big business). Liberals and lefties have been bitching about it as long as I can remember. Welcome to the party guys, but we’ve run out of beer….
It’s been around forever, and usually used on the powerless. I guess they must be eminent domaining rich people now…
Hell, that’s how Bush made the majority of his fortune, the eminent domain land grab for the Texas Rangers. It’s a little disengenious to complain now.
Doug, that’s what happens when politicians are turned into products: Consumerism, not Citizenship or the like.
I don’t know that I’d really call this an “awful ruling”.
The Constitution is pretty damn vague on this. It doesn’t spell out what is and isn’t a legitimate used of domain, just that it can’t be done without just compensation. Not that eminent domain being used for private development projects is necessarily a good idea, but it doesn’t really seem to be unconstitutional.
If it was an awful ruling by the US Supreme Court, then it was an even worse decision by the CT State Supreme Court. In their opinion they write:
“[e]conomic growth and its encouragement, especially in ‘distressed municipalities’ is a valid public use because it obviously confers a benefit to all members of the public.”
How does it obviously benefit all members of the public? More jobs? For who? Certainly there is no guarentee of who will be hired and from where. Are the justices also members of Pfizer’s HR department? Is there an employment contract being signed that says Pfizer can only hire residents of New London, CT?
Increased tax revenue? Oh, you mean taxes on their accounts over in the Cayman islands? Sure, that will benefit someone. Are the Justices part-timing as accountants for Pfizer? Do they have access to forward-looking information that nobody else does? How can they make any statements with regard to future tax income for this private corporation?
There may be economic benefit for someone but there are no guarentees as to who will benefit from this. That’s the difference between public and private use.
The problem with this Emminent Domain ruling is that it allows the government to manage your property as it’s product to be sold to the highest bidder. The government is essentially acting as a merchant or realtor. It allows us to bid on each others property with the government being the broker. That’s my understanding. Anybody that can prove me wrong will bring me relief, I hope.
it can’t be done without just compensation
Using market values from the year 2000 is just compensation? How about if you subtract 10’s of thousands of dollars for back rent from that figure? Most of them are ending up with a negative number. That means they will end up with no home and a huge bill. Is that just compensation? Oh, you meant just compensation for Pfizer. Oh, I get it.
gcauthon, you raise interesting questions. If we think we have pay-to-play problems now, what happens when you take off the restraints. Hopefully a backlash. It’s a shame that people have to experience a car crash before they appreciate the value of brakes and sobriety.