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Supreme Court: Cities May Seize Homes

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unskinned
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Slowly, slowly, rights are eroded. Maybe they went a bit too far in logically intepreting the laws that have been put before them (and it is a logical interpretation, given the laws,) but the inexorable logic of the laws laid down will not be held back forever.

The sickest thing I've been hearing is all the pundits saying that "Well, OBVIOUSLY the law is just fine, they just went too far..."

That is the symptom of rebellion against an irrational law that will fail miserably, in the long run.

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Though the Kelo case moved the de jure situation on eminent domain away from property right, the reaction might mean less de facto eminent domain takings. As this article explains, the SCOTUS ruling has caused many states to enact and introduce legislation to restrict such takings.

As an aside, the same thing will probably happen if the court overturns Roe. States will bring in various legislation, some better and other worse than the situation under Roe.

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As this article explains, the SCOTUS ruling has caused many states to enact and introduce legislation to restrict such takings.

As an aside, the same thing will probably happen if the court overturns Roe. States will bring in various legislation, some better and other worse than the situation under Roe.

I remain irrationally optimistic on the state-level fallout of Kelo at least for a short while. As far as I can see, Kelo doesn't change anything, rather, it says "it's not going to get better than it has been", since that decision just affirms the existing power of the state to confiscate land -- the status quo is that you own your land subject to government revocation. I would be interested to see the details on such a state law, since virtually always it is the municipality and not the state that steals land for "private" reasons, and I very much doubt that any of these state laws will touch confiscation for governmental purposes. [bTW, Dana Berliner was on CBS news last night over the Norwood, OH case].

OTOH I see nothing but bad coming from even a partial overturning of Roe, since that would be moving from the recognition of a woman's right to her life, in the wrong direction. The potential exception would be the 2003 late abortion act where there is a federal law, but I doubt that any state will uphold a woman's rights on that front.

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The repeal of imminent domain laws would have wonderful economic effects. It would help re-establish the absolute right to property and would eliminate a particularly egregious example of government interference in the economy.

Laissez-Faire capitalism is the only moral -- and therefore the only practical -- social system.

Not quite. As long as the government can force you off your land for non-payment of tax, you have no property rights.

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Thankfully the states' are enacting legislation to counter this.

I don't agree with eminent domain, but I'm practical about it. We won't win completely. I wish we could at least push for something to slow it down. Like, instead of paying 100% of what the property is worth, I think the government should have to pay 150% of what it is worth on the market, plus reasonable moving costs.

That way, the government would have to think long and hard before they decide to pursue an eminent domain project. They could still do it, but there's a hurdle. And I don't think we'd feel quite as bad for the old guy in a $100,000 house if he just picked up a $50,000 windfall.

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If the courts declare that "just compensation" is 150% of market value, that would have huge ramifications of the cognitive dissonance variety. It would essentially make all awards of damages in part punitive, so in suing to recover your lost $100 from a business deal, you would recover $150 (not so bad) or if sued for damages where you had someone else's $100, they would be entitled to an extra $50 of your money (not so good). If the legislature imposes a special "fair price plus 50%" condition on all takings, the courts won't have to corrupt the concept of "fair compensation". Perhaps a court could accept an ad hoc argument that in some specific case the loss was more than the obvious market price, but as a general matter, I can't see how the courts could make the definition of "fair compensation" contingent on whether the actor was a goverment vs. someone else.

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Another good story, this time illustrating the second legislative route: ballot measures.
Oregon's ballot measure, which passed with a mere 61% of the vote, required authorities to either compensate landowners for any reduction in the value of their property, or exempt them from the regulations. This was the second time voters had passed the measure, the first version having been tossed out on a technicality by the state's notoriously liberal Supreme Court.
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My favorite part of the article was this paragraph:

"Texas was one of the first states to act after the Kelo ruling, taking up the issue in a special legislative session that was supposed to focus solely on education. Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, signed a bill on Sept. 1 that prohibits use of eminent domain to benefit a private party, with certain exceptions. Among those exceptions is the condemnation of homes to make way for a new stadium for the Dallas Cowboys."

Texas seems to be quite strong in its bid for world capital of conservative hypocrisy

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