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Constitutionality of Eminent Domain

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8/14/2010 9:15:07 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Eminent Domain gives the federal government the right to seize private property without consent. The reasons are varied and often vague, but the explicit purpose is one in where the alleged interest of "the greater good " is cited. This precedence is relying upon utilitarian principles as its moral compass.

In a landmark Supreme Court decision, Kelo v. City of New London, Eminent Domain was cited. The SCOTUS ordered that private ownership be transferred to the city for public use, after the deliberation was 5 votes in favor of the acquisition, and 4 dissenting Justices.

The dissenting opinions come from Justices who ordinarily are ideologically opposed to one another, but on this day found commonality. In their dissenting opinions, 2 of them wrote:

"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms." -- Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

"This deferential shift in phraseology enables the Court to hold, against all common sense, that a costly urban-renewal project whose stated purpose is a vague promise of new jobs and increased tax revenue, but which is also suspiciously agreeable to the Pfizer Corporation, is for a 'public use.'.. Allowing the government to take property solely for public purposes is bad enough, but extending the concept of public purpose to encompass any economically beneficial goal guarantees that these losses will fall disproportionately on poor communities. Those communities are not only systematically less likely to put their lands to the highest and best social use, but are also the least politically powerful." -- Justice Clarence Thomas

In the broader spectrum, I see Eminent Domain legal only under the most extraordinary of circumstances -- circumstances that would have to involve life and death on a massive scale.

Kelo v. New London hardly qualifies in my estimation.

But what are your thoughts on Eminent Domain and the legality of it?
"Have you ever considered suicide? If not, please do." -- Mouthwash (to Inferno)