Imminent Domain

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 29-11-2009


If you truly think there are property rights left in America, you sure must have your head firmly in ground or up your a**.  Here is the most recent example of the government taking property from the little guy to give it to their rich buddies. Oh yeah, and these just so happen to be liberals, who claim the love the poor and the down trodden.

The case, Goldstein v. New York State Urban Development Corporation, dealt with plans by developer Forest City Ratner to build a new arena for the Nets as well as snazzy apartments and offices on land currently occupied by homes and businesses. To make way for the sports complex, the state declared the property “blighted” and used its power of eminent domain to hand it to the developer.

Such unabashed takings have an unfortunate history in New York state, where the political class has a habit of using its powers on behalf of well-connected private interests. Caught under the wheels are average citizens whose only recourse is to try to defend their property rights in court.

So much for that. In allowing the property seizure, the Court of Appeals dodged some of the central challenges to the condemnation, including whether the Empire State Development Corporation’s designation of blight in the Atlantic Yards area was applied after the stadium project had already been planned, making it a “pretext.” Nor did the court take on the question—at the heart of eminent domain law since Kelo—whether economic development may be considered a public use under the New York Constitution.

Instead, the majority argued that because the state had designated the area as blighted, the takings were therefore a “public use,” and it was not the place of the court to interfere. Nevermind that the determination of blight was based largely on a study funded by . . . the aspiring developer.

Courts in New York have been famously hostile to eminent domain challenges, but 43 states have adjusted their laws since Kelo to provide stronger protections for property owners. The New York ruling vindicates Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s prediction in dissent in Kelo that “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.” Q.E.D.

via New York Appellate Court Rules in Favor of Basketball Arena Developers –

Not only does the government take your property whenever it feels like, for whatever reason it feels like, try to not pay your property taxes and see if you really own your property. Property taxes have turned us all into renters. You have to pay the local government your yearly rental fee, which they raise periodically just like all landlords. If you don’t pay, they evict you and take back the property. Then they sell the property to some one else who is under the illusion that they own the property.

So, basically you only have “rights” to the property until the government decides you no longer have the right. You can fool yourself all you want, but really eminent domain has turned into imminent domain.

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Comments (3)

The same principle applies to drug seizures, if you own 1000 acres and they want to steal it, then all that they have to do is plant marijuana on it in isolated locations where you are not likely to find it. If they are really bold they will just search your property and say that they found drugs when they didn’t. The propaganda against drugs has worked so well that we cheer when they do these things! I personally hate drugs and how they ruin lives, including alcohol, but I believe that your property is always your property until you pass it own in death.

Even in the old west when they hung a horse thief they would box up his possessions and send them to his next of kin if they could find them.

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we have been working on a film about this story for 6 years
and we are funding it through

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Nice play on eminent/imminent domain. Captures it perfectly.

In fact, fighting eminent domain is a sobering experience. Private property owners facing the threat of eminent domain quickly learn that they are not standing on a level playing field legally, economically or politically.

Among other lessons, there is a lot of play in the “just” of “just compensation.” The power of eminent domain brings with it a sense of entitlement. At that point, property owners are merely an obstacle to be swept aside — when, in fact, they possess the key asset coveted by government and the corporation.

But property owners can fight back. Our two-year battle against Houston-based Spectra Energy which seized our property rights for an underground gas storage field led to the development of a website which has begun to attract whistle blowers inside the energy industry. We are collaborating and helping property owners in many states. For info, visit the site:

By the way, our new neighbor, Spectra Energy, has received two Notice of Violations for “unlawful conduct” over the past 2-3 months related to emergency shutdowns and emissions at its storage field in Bedford County, PA. Reports of contaminated water supplies are on the rise since they began operations.

Like Kelo and Atlantic Yards, the ripple effects of eminent domain are never over.

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