Friday, May 15, 2009

The Abuse of Eminent Domain

It was recently reported in the news that our Federal Government has exercised its power, yet again, in the form of eminent domain. Before we progress let me briefly adumbrate on what eminent domain is; it is the right of the government, either State or Federal, to appropriate private property for public use, whilst issuing just compensation for said property. Reference to the specific application of eminent domain can be found in the 5th Amendment of the US Constitution;

“.... nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

These twelve little words have immense power, and many acts of venality have been perpetrated by demonstrating sufficient constitutionality. Would you view the following as a truism? Among the prescribed liberties and freedoms in a free society, the acquisition and subsequent sustainment of property is equally pertinent and of great import. Isn't economic liberty and the principles of free enterprise synonymous with the individual's right to accumulate all earnings that are a direct result of their labor? A just-compensation clause was implanted to secure a check on the aforementioned eminent domain, but to what effect this provision provides can be debated. It would be no surprise that abuse has occurred and it has been cloaked under the pretext of “public use.” Property has been divested by the confiscatory methods of political process and redistribution, which only protects certain beneficiaries who, with the support of political cyprian, maintain disproportionate puissance and exhortation over common citizens. Individual sovereignty will continue to exist so long as it does not interfere with the public need, public benefit, public interest, public welfare, or any other term you can find that supersedes the singularity.

The video below pertains the U.S. Government's acquisition of private land to construct a National monument to Flight 93.

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So, what are your viewpoints? Recently a member of the Flight 93 Federal Advisory Committee, Somerset County Commissioner Pamela Tokar-Ickes, resigned from the board because she declined to acquiesce to the usage of eminent domain to purloin land from area property owners. While I am not saying that a memorial should be constructed, I am questioning the tactics and the amount of land needed for appropriation. Every action taken by the government creates collateral damage, and even though "just compensation" may be viewed as an equitable benefit, I cannot help but view this as enforced social justice. While the Families of Flight 93 may have the best of intentions, I cannot help but speculate on the response of those who were on the flight, and the usage of eminent domain to manifest a tribute for their actions.

1 comment:

Ross said...

The government, at least how it is run now, only knows how to wield it's power-often in ways counter to the Constitution. Besides this example, the current administration may prove itself to be the most anti-private property in history. Control the means of production, starting with the land, and you control the economy.