Eminent Domain

Topics: Property, Kelo v. City of New London, Eminent domain Pages: 2 (744 words) Published: May 3, 2006
Eminent Domain is the government's right under the Fifth Amendment to acquire privately owned property for public use - to build a road, a school or a courthouse. Under eminent domain, the government buys your property, paying you what's determined to be fair market value. In recent years, there has been much debate over the appropriateness of eminent domain, and further its legality in specific instances. The government is allowed to seize personal property for private use if they can prove that doing it will serve what's called "the public good". There have been many cases brought up against the government in attempt to regulate the government's power in seizing private property. There is a political push for reform to the eminent domain laws, including the regulation of compensation, hold outs, relocation assistance, and more generally, minimizing the excessive taking of private land. Cities across the country have been using eminent domain to force people off their land, so private developers can build more expensive homes and offices that will pay more in property taxes than the buildings they're replacing. The most recent major case arguing the boundaries of eminent domain was Kelo v New London (US 2005). In this case, "the court established that the U.S. Constitution does not prohibit the use of eminent domain for economic development purposes. Instead, the establishment of standards to use eminent domain is left to the states." (Tackett, 2006) Many homeowners take issue with their relative municipalities forcing them out of their homes. However, in order to legally invoke eminent domain, the city has to certify the home/land is "blighted." "The term 'blight' is used to describe whether or not the structures generally in an area meet today's standards" (Cain, 2004.) Unfortunately for homeowners, the city determines the standards for blight. In many instances, cities set unreachable standards for homeowners, giving them little leverage in...
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