April 26, 2010

Steve Pomper

From Kelo to Seattle, to Auburn, Supreme Court was wrong.

author photo ihis

we go again, yet another government private property grab thanks to the now infamous, and atrocious, 2005 Supreme Court decision known as Kelo v New London [Connecticut]. Today the targets have Auburn, New York threatening eminent domain against two holdout property owners.

So, what hospital, jail, or freeway ramp does the Auburn community need that makes it so important for politicians and bureaucrats to take private property away, by force if necessary? Well, it’s not for any of those originally intended purposes; those Auburn big-wigs essentially want to confiscate land from those private citizens in order to transfer it to other private citizens they deem more worthy to own it, because of a plan to build a resort, which will ostensibly bring in jobs and tax revenues.

In the Kelo case, the Supreme Court ruled [in one of the biggest errors the court has ever made, in my opinion] a local government may seize by eminent domain private property and transfer it, not for direct government use, but to other private parties for indirect community “benefit.”

The kick in the teeth from the Kelo decision was that the entity at the heart of this land grab, the private party benefitting in the transaction, once having prevailed, once having had the victim property owners forced from their land and their homes moved or destroyed, bailed on their end of the deal. The property taken by eminent domain sits an idle weed infested vacant lot.

And the damage isn’t limited to Kelo in Connecticut. Seattle also experienced a similar boondoggle when it seized land by eminent domain for a community rail project, while at least directly public-related in this instance, also failed to materialize, but for the people who lost property, their nightmare certainly materialized.

The Supreme Court exists to interpret law so that it protects individual liberty. Sometimes they miss the mark, and not by inches, but as in this case, by a mile. How can the court miss so badly? In this case I believe in the end they failed to use the proper motivation. They used benefit to the community in the collectivist sense over benefit to the community in the individualist sense. But Time Magazine did declare we’re all Socialists now, right? So…

Eminent domain was never intended to allow government to seize private property from one individual and then transfer it to another individual. The sad thing is that every American knows this, but there are some who obfuscate, and wallow in legal minutia, in order to equivocate a bad ruling, and even sadder still, some of them wear black robes.


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