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Supreme Court Rules Private Property Can be Seized

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the supreme-court-totally-rules dept.

The Courts 1829

slew writes "CNN is reporting that the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in a case where a local community seized private houses for commercial development (not public works) under the guise of eminent domain. Needless to say, the little guy loses to the commercial developer this case... "

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1829 comments

bush judges (1, Insightful)

mycal (135781) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893903)


guess we need bush judges more than ever now

Re:bush judges (4, Interesting)

Tuxedo Jack (648130) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893990)

Funny enough, the dissenting judges appear to mostly be conservative in nature from what I've read of their rulings.

And in an ironic twist, David Souter _is_ a Bush-appointed judge - Bush the elder, that is.

Re:bush judges (3, Informative)

acvh (120205) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894008)

The four judges who voted AGAINST the local government's land grab were Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas and O'Commor. It's the liberals who want to give away private property - the conservatives want to give away PUBLIC property.

Re:bush judges (4, Insightful)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894061)

Three conservatives and one swing.

5-4: One more conservative and it would have gone the other way.

That's why the "filibuster the judicial appointments" battle - a warmup for the next supreme court opening - is so important.

Re:bush judges (-1, Troll)

TodPunk (843271) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894022)

Bush has been quite accurately compared to a monkey in mental capacity many times. You want to trust this man to appoint Supreme Court Judges? Hell, why don't we just hand the appointments to AOL users or something.

Re:bush judges (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12894027)

That won't help. It's not as if a Janice Rogers Brown will get nominated to the Court. Bush will nominate Souter clones when Rhenquist & Stevens retire.

Re:bush judges (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12894033)

guess we need bush judges more than ever now

Guess what idiots don't understand? They don't understand that the liberals on the supreme court voted for this. The conservatives were against it.

Re:bush judges (-1, Flamebait)

Weh (219305) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894042)

I am not an american but I have the impression that all mr. Bush has done is take "freedom" away from america whilst (the patriot act for example), furthermore it appears that he is certainly pro-big business. Keeping these things in mind I don't see how "bush judges" could have helped in this case.

Re:bush judges (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12894080)

Yes, your not an america, so stfu. The judges that ruled against were conservative, or bush type judges. The idiotic, lets make law instead of rule on it, liberal judges ruled in favor.

A day that will live in infamy. (5, Insightful)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894048)


This is the constitution as it was written:
Today, five supreme court justices, who are sworn to uphold that constitution, changed it to read:
nor shall private property be taken for PUBLIC OR PRIVATE use, without just compensation
It is very difficult to overemphasize quite how evil this ruling is.

Re:bush judges (1)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894089)

Yeah, because Republican Judges will be ALL ABOUT protecting the rights of the little guy vs the big guy.

Give me a fucking break. I'm no fan of the Democrats, but it's not like the Republicans would ride in to save the day on some land grab.

Or maybe you're being cynical and I didn't catch that...

All your homes are... (5, Funny)

slash76 (894155) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893907)

All your homes are belong to us.

Re:All your homes are... (1, Offtopic)

ndansmith (582590) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894073)

Why waste your mod points on "All your base . . ." jokes? I mean, come on, it's been five years [slashdot.org] since the thing came out. Maybe we need a new type of Funny mod for /. inside jokes like "All your base . . ." and "In Soviet Russia . . .", that way I can filter those posts to get to some actually funny content.

relevance in slashdot? (0, Offtopic)

frazzydee (731240) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893910)

And how does this have to do with my rights online? Seriousyl...isn't /. supposed to be a place for technology-related news? Yes, this is very disturbing, but it's way beyond the scope of slashdot. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, things like that are completely unacceptable! We can't sit back and allow people to take our land just to make an extra buck. I'm not sure what can be done about this, but clearly there is something very wrong with the supreme court if companies are allowed to bulldoze homes to build a condo. This raises some questions about what the value of real estate will be in the future if companies are allowed to just take it. I don't know what kind of compensation the families received, but surely it isn't as much as they would have gotten otherwise. Needless to say, this is completely and utterly unfair...something has to be done.

Re:relevance in slashdot? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12893932)

He's right! If it doesn't have anything to do with OSX, we don't want to hear about it.
Though, we'd be slight curious if it was stylish and available in off-white colours.

Re:relevance in slashdot? (1)

77Punker (673758) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893938)

Ummmm...maybe because if they take your house for no reason they'll take your computer for no reason?

Re:relevance in slashdot? (2, Funny)

Gyga (873992) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893981)

Because our basements are in houses.
--
A sig should be wise.

Re:relevance in slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12893988)

wow you are really stupid

Re:relevance in slashdot? (1)

Bedouin X (254404) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894026)

Good point about the future value of Real Estate.

I guess one good thing is that it does leave it up to the states to place restrictions on these developments. Hopefully they will. I think that the families do get a pretty fair market value for their homes, but of course the fair market value does nothing to compensate for the family history that can be tied up in a home.

Re:relevance in slashdot? (2, Insightful)

mikael (484) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894078)

One proposal is that the compensation paid for the land should be for the rezoned purpose, and not four the current use.

Do a Google search for the case Kelo vs. New London [ij.org]. It has been subject to considerable discussion in many places.

For anyone considering moving states and buying a house, this is going to make them think very carefully about buying a home close to a business park, strip mall or hotel. I wonder if the city councils have considered how this is going to affect their property taxes.

pwn3d (4, Insightful)

Binestar (28861) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893912)

So what the supreme court ruled was that you own your land, but the wealthy business pwns j00

Re:pwn3d (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12893993)

wait, wait, there's gotta be a soviet russia joke in there...

Re:pwn3d (5, Insightful)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894012)

Let's lay the blame where it belongs. Sure the businesses are acting in self interest, but it's the government acting like thugs.

-Peter

Re:pwn3d (4, Insightful)

Uruk (4907) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894031)

It's not the wealth of the business that makes them effective, it's their contacts with the local city government. If they convince the city government that some piece of development is in the city's best interests, they're in. It doesn't take money to do this, it just takes connections.

The principle that has been established is that you own your land unless the government can think of a purpose for your land that would suit what they identify as the higher economic good. That's called expropriation [google.com].

Expropriation is bad, mmmkay?

Re:pwn3d (0, Troll)

rsborg (111459) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894076)

So what the supreme court ruled was that you own your land, but the wealthy business pwns j00

Welcome to Bush's pwnership society [commondreams.org]. Seems like whether you support right or left-based politics, the way things go, the corporations win every time.

The day freedom died .. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12893915)

To all US /. readers who still believe that the USA has freedom.

Read this http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/04pdf/04-10 8.pdf [supremecourtus.gov]

Your government can now take your property for the "public good"
You are no longer safe in your own home!

The end has come and you only have yourself to blame.

What are you going to do?

Re:The day freedom died .. (1)

jasonditz (597385) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894037)

Actually the government has been able to do so for quite some time now. All the Supreme Court did was say that the owner can't contest that seizure.

Re:The day freedom died .. (1)

m.h.2 (617891) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894051)

"What are you going to do?

We're going to move in next to you and ruin your country too.

Woot!!! (5, Funny)

Ooblek (544753) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893916)

Now I can finally plow down my two neighbors houses and install my cluster!!!!

Re:Woot!!! (2, Interesting)

DeadSea (69598) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893972)

Your rights online:
  • Courts say that local governments can use eminent domain to seize virtual property in computer games such as Everquest
  • Internet news sources report that your offline property rights are being revoked.
  • Editors at the website Slashdot are confused about the meanings of "your rights" and "online"

Why doesn't the "your rights online" section have an article about the Adult entertainment law that went into effect today? The law requires websites with adult content to keep documentation that all nekkid people are above the age of 18. While it may take down pictures of what may be 17 year olds from the internet, the law effectivly shuts down many adult sites that have no child pornography but don't have records [ratemyboner.com].

While this is disturbing as hell... (2, Insightful)

Tuxedo Jack (648130) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893921)

And it overturns the ruling from the early 90s involving Donald Trump trying to seize a woman's house to turn her land into a parking garage for a casino, I don't see how in the world this is classified as YRO.

Perhaps the ruling applies to online property as well - though the major companies generally try to invoke the DMCA for that (Microsoft vs. Mike Rowe, et cetera). That would make it relevant.

Re:While this is disturbing as hell... (1)

s2k2vidguy (753453) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894060)

Agreed. Perhaps the fine people running this site should change the category to a nice umbrella term, like "your (lack of) rights."

Aarghhh. (5, Interesting)

RoverDaddy (869116) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893922)

This runs so counter to the concept of using eminent domain for the public good that I could scream. I guess there's not much chance Congress would consider limiting eminent domain to the more 'traditional' uses like roads, schools, etc. Sigh.

All hail the rich (4, Insightful)

ewithrow (409712) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893923)

The war against the rich and lower classes is over.

The rich have won.

Re:All hail the rich (4, Informative)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893983)

And interestingly enough it was done by the more liberal (er, "progressive") members of the bench. The three hard conservatives were soundly against it.

Re:All hail the rich (1, Flamebait)

rwven (663186) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894047)

and the funny part is that the people who dealt this wonderful winning blow were the very democrats who griped about it all along. get your fact straight nubcakes....

Techie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12893925)

How is this techie again? Was it a PDA?

Not as bad as it sounds... (5, Informative)

DataPath (1111) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893926)

it was a 5-4 decision, which the conclusion being that the supreme court doesn't feel it's their job the decide what falls within the "public good" clause of eminent domain.

They stated that this doesn't nothing to prevent states from legislating limits on eminent domain seizures by municipal government

Re:Not as bad as it sounds... (2, Insightful)

RoverDaddy (869116) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893967)

They stated that this doesn't nothing to prevent states from legislating limits on eminent domain seizures by municipal government

And that will happen when? Don't forget who's pulling the strings of all those state legislatures.

Re:Not as bad as it sounds... (5, Insightful)

aliens (90441) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894015)

Thank you for seeing through the knee-jerk reaction. Basically they said what the Conservatives would normally say, the states have the power. Rather than limit the rights of the states this ruling gives them more power. What they do with it is not for the federal government to decide.

Want your state to make laws to prevent this? Show up and vote.

Re:Not as bad as it sounds... (5, Insightful)

jthayden (811997) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894088)

I've been showing up to vote for awhile now. It doesn't seem to stop the all out freefall of this country. Next suggestion?

Re:Not as bad as it sounds... (3, Insightful)

DigitalRaptor (815681) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894075)

Exept for one problem. It undermines the US Constitution.

Basic property rights shouldn't have to be defined 50 times in 50 different constitutions and fought in the courts of 50 different states.

The whole point of the Constitution is to protect the rights of all US citizens, regardless of which state they live in.

Re:Not as bad as it sounds... (3, Informative)

Daniel Boisvert (143499) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894085)

Their deferral to the legislature for such a pointedly Constitutional issue is worrying. Everything I have to say about this was already said better in Justice O'Connor's and Justice Thomas's dissenting opinions though, so I'll just point folks there [findlaw.com].

Commercial Development? (1)

mOoZik (698544) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893928)

As much as this ruling scares me, perhaps the commercial development would aid the community or in some way improve it, just as would a freeway or a public school, which normally allows for such seizure under eminent domain. However, I did not RTFA, so I don't know the details of the development, but regardless, it is very scary that so much power is available to a community. Well-connected businessmen must rejoice at the thought of this.

P.S. What's with all the YRO stories today?

Enjoy Corporate America (1)

the_burton (147439) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893930)

I'm going to laugh and cry the first time someone's home of 50 years is torn down to put up a McDonalds...

This is indeed a... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12893933)

dark day. What this means is basically that ANY commercial organization can seize ANY private property if the city says it's good for "prosperity" (read business). This is not only morally wrong, but is also blatantly offensive to property owners everywhere.

Soviet America (5, Funny)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893941)

It sounds almost as though we can start making Soviet America jokes now instead.

In Soviet America, private property seizes local government.

This is really a sad day.

Free Market, what's that? Never heard of it... (2, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893944)

We only have the illusion of a free market in this country. From agricultural subsidies to tarrifs on trade to tax write offs for big corporations. And now we have this. You don't even own the things you own, unless you are rich, and then you own everything that poor people own, if you want it.

In Soviet Amerika, all your house are belong to the rich.

Sets precedense.... (1)

UMhydrogen (761047) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893952)

Now this only means that in the future this Supreme Court ruling can be used to, for example, decide that your domain name of microsoftsucks.com should be given to microsoft in order to promote a healthier public opinion of company and thereby improving our life style. Right.....

It's in the constitution, stupid (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893953)

FTFA: "At issue was the scope of the Fifth Amendment, which allows governments to take private property through eminent domain if the land is for 'public use.'"

Right, so it's in the constitution... that means you guys take it as gospel then?

Re:It's in the constitution, stupid (1)

joss (1346) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894057)

Personnally, I have more faith in the US constitution than the gospels, and I'm not even American.

Bogus! (5, Interesting)

Uruk (4907) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893959)

I've posted other comments here [blogspot.com] about this, but here's the basic review:

The city government claims they seized the property for economic development, as part of a larger plan. Sure, the property is going to be turned over to a commercial developer, but it's "public use" of the land because of the larger economic development plan.

The state courts: Well, the city says their main reason for doing it is public use, not to benefit Pfizer, so it must be public use!

The supreme courts: We'll let the state courts worry about this. They said it's public use, so it probably is. Therefore, it's OK for the city to seize the land.

This is not the building of new roads, this is not the elimination of blight, this is a real estate development deal, and people are losing their houses over it. Does this frighten anybody but me?

You ain't doin' 'nuff fo' da community. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893961)

So, just because you own your own business and the land it sits upon ... the local government can kick you off if it BELIEVES that another BUSINESS can generate more tax revenue/jobs or whatever.

And nice big FUCK YOU from the US Supreme Court.

So Now (1)

Attrition_cp (888039) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893962)

So now you have to say 'yes' when that guy comes to purchase your land to build a mall, because it would be cheaper for them to pay off someone in the local government to announce the leftover lots as slated for destruction to 'improve the community'. Thats probably a bit more cynical than reality, but it makes you wonder what will happen to the houses just outside a growing city.

Re:So Now (1)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894054)

Not only that but you can be virtually guaranteed that the "value" of such homes is going to fall.. Big business is going to be much more stingy when it comes to giving you compensation for your property because they can pretty much just just boot you off now and throw a few coins at you.

What A Happy Day (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893971)

Mayor: I'm sorry, Mr. Gustav, but we're tearing down your house.

Mr. Gustav: But my grandfather worked his whole life to make the house and property. You can't do that?

Mayor: I'm sorry, Mr. Gustav, but it's emminent domain. It's absolutely essential to the city's wellbeing that we tear down your house to make way for my swimming pool.

I'm surprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12893978)

...it's not another news story from the BBC on /.

Where is the Rage and Anger? (1)

DigitalRaptor (815681) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893984)

Our forefathers would have been marching in the streets with pitchforks and axes.

We're too busy checking our email, playing our consoles, reading Slashdot, and fighting over distros to care.

This is awful, and was already being severely abused. Walmart is by far one of the biggest offenders, but they won't be the last.

With this new law watch for cabins to be knocked down for ski resorts, and beach front homes to be leveled for new beach resorts. Watch neighborhoods be leveled for new shopping malls.

This is a major, major problem [cbsnews.com] that is now going to get much worse.

And people thought Bush wouldn't accomplish anything in office...

I Just Realized the Good Side of This (1)

medcalf (68293) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893987)

I can go into local government - it's a small enough town, but with big enough land and value to businesses moving in - and become rich from the payoffs. And I'd better do it, too, before it's my house being sold out from under me.

Can it work in reverse? (1)

wsherman (154283) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893989)

As much as I am skeptical that there is any fundamental moral right for private individuals to own land, given the ease with which local governments can be stacked with corrupt officials, this seems like a step in the wrong direction.

On the other hand, this sets an interesting precedent. If private individuals can be forced to sell their land to other private individuals, then conceivably a group of working class families could stack a local government with officials sympathetic to their cause and force shopping malls to sell their land to working class families at reasonable prices for private homes.

The votes were fairly predictable... (2, Informative)

Unloaded (716598) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893992)

...

For the majority: Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer

In dissent: O'Connor, Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas

Nevermind the demise of liberty... (2, Interesting)

nphinit (36616) | more than 8 years ago | (#12893996)

...go ahead America, keep getting fat, lazy, stupid, watch Survivor, listen to music, play X-Box, read People, watch Dr. Phil, diet, eat, play, spend, spend, spend, spend.

Don't read a book though. But do watch infotainment and hear about how a common household product might kill your children TOMORROW!

Nevermind the fact that

1.) The Supreme Court just declared private property is only private until the government says they have an idea how someone else could perhaps use it better?

2.) The Senate is about to amend the U.S. Constitution to allow prohibiting burning a piece of fabric if that fabric happens to have 3 certain colors (red, white, blue) and 3 certain shapes (long rectangles, large rectancles, stars) in a certain pattern.

Nevermind the demise of liberty. Make sure you see the #1 movie at the box office this weekend, or else you aren't a patriotic American.

Re:Nevermind the demise of liberty... (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894087)

Nevermind that the Senate itself can't amend the Constitution, or that various members of Congress have been trying to push that amendment for decades now unsuccessfully.

When this applies to online gaming properties... (0, Offtopic)

davidwr (791652) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894001)

When cities go after my domain name or phone number or online gaming properties, then it'll be "Your Rights Online".

This should've been in Politics, if anywhere.

This is not capitalism. (1)

Trespass (225077) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894003)

This is totalitarianism with a capitalist ideal.

It seems individuals don't really own anything that can't be taken away under even the most flimsy pretext.

Raise taxes. (1)

dameron (307970) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894004)

If municipalities were able to raise revenue in traditional ways there wouldn't be as much pressure to use eminent domain to increase the tax base.

Them Pesky Conser-oh, wait... (4, Informative)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894006)

Let's get this out of the way right off the bat:

For the record, O'Connor, Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas were in the dissent. The minority. The losers. The folks saying "no, the government doesn't have the right to take private land from some citizens on behalf of other private citizens as long as there are a few extra tax dollars to be picked up in the process".

If you want to argue party politics ("It's all Bush's fault, favoring Special Interests"), there are plenty of threads where you can do so and still be on-topic.

Unless you're so blinded by partisan politics that you consider O'Connor, Scalia, Rehnquist, and Thomas to be liberals (well, at least for today), this isn't one of those threads.

This isn't about Republicans vs. Democrats. It's about libertarians vs. statists.

Beginning of the end (2, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894010)

Historians in 100+ years may look back and say that this was the real beginning of the end of US society as we know it. Why? Virtually any sociologist or related scientist will tell you that the basis for a civilized society are strong property rights.

Personally, I'm disgusted by the ruling. We're going to see *massive*, third-world level corruption appearing in the headlines any time now. It'll be easy for developers to pay off the local gov't to kick people off of their land so that we can have yet another strip mall. This has got to be one of the worst rulings in the recent history of the Supreme Court.

OMFG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12894011)

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

She was joined in her opinion by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, as well as Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.


I can't believe it. I agree with Scalia and Thomas. In other news, Hell froze over.

RTFR (Read The Freakin Ruling) (1)

Dr. Bent (533421) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894016)

the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in a case where a local community siezed private houses for commercial development (not public works) under the guize of emminent domain.

No, what the Supreme Court ruled in this case is that what the city of New London is planning to do with the land IS a public use, in that it will create jobs and increase tax revenue, and therefore legal.

Of course, as a matter of opinion it may not be, but the Supreme court has not unilaterally declared that the government can seize your property for private use.

Yeah, first time I find myself agreeing with (4, Insightful)

DeafDumbBlind (264205) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894020)

Thomas and Scalia in a disenting opinion.

What's the world coming to???

WTF were the other 5 bozos thinking??

Funny isn't it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12894023)

What makes this so good is that for all the liberals on here who no doubt will blame the Bush administration in same way, the 5 majority judges are the liberal ones on the court...

eminent domain gone too far (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12894029)

I don't think this is a very good idea at all and might very well pave the way for more abuses of power on the part of a small number of wealthy, powerful individuals.

You can declare economic benefits from almost anything, but that doesn't mean you should be able to mow down someone's house and steal their land. Where have people's sense of property rights gone? A man's land should be his land, and no one should be able to take it away from him. Does anyone see the corruption and crony capitalism that can get involved with this?

Scalia, Thomas, Rehnquist, and O'Conner were the dissenters. They are classic strict constructionists, and this is one section of the Constitution which needs to be interpreted strictly.

I hope the Republicans can get off their behinds and pass legislation to eliminate this decision. A constitutional amendment is needed, I think.

We need to take a stand as a society and determine once and for all that the individual is just as important as the group.

If You Come To Take My Home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12894032)

If you come to take my home from me, I will devote my life to taking yours.

It doesn't matter if you're a lowly contractor or a police officer or a surveyor or a public official. You've declared yourself against me and that means you and I are at war.

Stock up on ammunition.

guize? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12894035)

what the hell? are you people 12 or something?

Does this mean patents, copyrights, and trademarks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12894036)

..can be seized? After all, they are a form of property, and I'm sure Linus Torvalds could do a lot more good for the community with the Windows source code than Bill Gates.

Or will Legislators get smart and draft a Private Property amendment instead of worrying about flag burning?

1+1=5 (1)

dclydew (14163) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894053)

So, if we put together two recent Supreme Court rulings we get:

When it comes to land ownership, the local governments know better than the federal government how to treat your property.

When it comes to medical marijuana, the federal drug czar, and congress know better than the local doctor how to treat your illness.

In short:

We make decisions now, based on the way the wind is blowing, Judge O'Conners tarot readings and Justice Scalia's ever popular divining in the liver of a cow. There used to be this thing called the Constitution, but it has lots of big words and small letters.

RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12894056)

Before we turn this into a rich vs. poor, Bush's fault etc thing (which has already happened), RTFA. Scalia, Thomas and the other conservative justices opposed this. It was the liberal leaning justices that supported this decision.

"Petoria" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12894066)

I now claim this pool in the name of Petoria

honestly I guess I can now use my work as an excuse to take over the neiborhood and get the whole cable branch to myself

I don't know what to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12894074)

It's been a few hours since I read the announcement of the decision. I'm still stunned, and enraged.

Part of me wants to grab some weapons and... well, I can't finish that sentence because it's illegal to suggest doing such things to government officials. Besides, I don't think my fellow sheep would really revolt with me.

Part of me wants to laugh hysterically and start up the betting pool on who will end up being our dictator -- this is the next step on that road. Representive democracy is obviously dead.

I know writing Congresspeople is useless, as they only read the letters with money in them.

So, about the only thing I can think to do is economically boycott my own country. I'll buy food, guns and bullets, and precious metals, and encourage others to do the same. That's all... and wait for the end. I used to think the end would come after my lifetime, but now I think I'll see it after all.

A few words about 'eminent domain' (1)

sczimme (603413) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894077)


The Legal Information Institute [cornell.edu] (LII) at Cornell University defines eminent domain [cornell.edu] like so:

Eminent Domain

The power of the government to take private property and convert it into public use. The Fifth Amendment provides that the government may only exercise this power if they provide just compensation to the property owners.


Black's Law Dictionary (8th Ed.) defines the term very much the same way, but adds that the practice can be called compulsory purchase. (Apparently in Scots law this is also called compulsory surrender.) The aforementioned 5th Amendment item is called the Fifth Amendment Clause.

re Jesus said it a long time ago (1)

jelizondo (183861) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894081)

For everyone who has much will be given more and will be abundantly supplied. But everyone who has little will be deprived even of what he has. Matthew 13:12

So the rich get richer and the poor, poorer; is this justice?

What does "own" mean now? (5, Insightful)

l2718 (514756) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894086)

Reading the ruling [akamaitech.net], I find the dissents by O'Connor and Thomas much more perusasive. The ruling amounts to saying that, starting today, if others can use your property in a way that will be better for the general public, for example if:

  1. they will pay more taxes than you do now; or,
  2. the public will find the house they will build more aesthetically pleasing than yours is; or,
  3. they bribe the local politicians more than you can afford.
then the government can simply take away your property and give it to them.

Of course you have to be "justly compensated". However, all this means is you will get back the "market value" of your property, i.e. what it is worth to a random person on the street. That could be very different from what it is worth to you, or even what it is worth to the developer who will get it and profit from it. Unlike normal economics, where the developers will have to pay based on what they can use the property for, the fair market value will depend on what you are using the property for today. And you personal enjoyment of living in a home you've owned for a long time doesn't factor into that.

Do you think Ms. Dery, who is 87 years old and lives in the house she was born in will be compensated for value of that? She only will be compensated for the value of the house assuming it was sold for profit.

The answer is simple (1)

setzman (541053) | more than 8 years ago | (#12894091)

A constitutional amendment to ban this "imminent domain" shit instead of an anti-flagburning amendment would fix this.
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