Tales of Tadeusz

Friday, June 24, 2005

Hohenwald News: Eminent Domain Abuse Explained

Stephen Bainbridge is one of several well-known lawyers in the leading ranks of the blogosphere. He's a Catholic, I believe, a political conservative, and a lover of wine.

I'm likely to agree with him, much of the time, even though I'm not Catholic, nor do I love wine (spilled alcohol smells like whats in the bottom of my garbage can when I haven't cleaned it out in the last year.)

He says in his Tech Central Station column that the Kelo decision is a horrible mistake, and one that eviscerates the Taking Clause of the US Constitution, and allows a coalition of tax-hungry city councilmen and greedy developers to mess over the private landowner.

He's right. Go here for more.

"Put simply, cities cannot take someone's house just because they think they can make better use of it. Otherwise, argues Scott Bullock, Mrs Kelo's lawyer, you end up destroying private property rights altogether. For if the sole yardstick is economic benefit, any house can be replaced at any time by a business or shop (because they usually produce more tax revenues). Moreover, if city governments can seize private property by claiming a public benefit which they themselves determine, where do they stop? If they decide it is in the public interest to encourage locally-owned shops, what would prevent them compulsorily closing megastores, or vice versa? This is central planning." Thats from the Economist, btw. And they are dead right.

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