Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Eminent Domain

"I'll get a bunch of monkeys, dress them up, and make them reenact the civil war..."

Homer (Simpson) - his idea of what he could do to help people wielding his power as head of the secret Society of Stonecutters

Life, liberty, and property. Three things that are guaranteed by the Constitution and that cannot be taken away by the government without "due process". Well, the United States Supreme Court is examining a case (Susette Kelo v. City of New London and New London Development Corp.) involving a city taking privately owned land under the auspices of "eminent domain" and turning it over to another private party so they could develop it for commercial use. Hopefully, the court will readdress this issue directly in its ruling. It's about 50 years overdue.

For me, whether it's taking land to build a stadium to house a professional sports team, or in this instance a new office complex. The idea that the government should seize someones property and give it to someone else so they can make money off of it is an egregious abuse of governmental power. It has no place in a free society. Whether the development has a positive economic impact on the area or not (with a corresponding increase in tax revenue). It's not the place of government to make that determination.

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