eminent domain

eminent domain - University of Massachusetts Amherst...

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University of Massachusetts Amherst Eminent domain and the definition of public  purpose Intro to Law Management 260 5/12/07
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Imagine sitting down at the dinner table with your family after a long day at work. Surrounded by the same four walls for many years of your life, you have become infatuated with your home. However while filtering through the mail at the table, you notice a letter you have never seen before. It is a letter from the state giving you two weeks to negotiate the sale of your longtime home or lose it through eminent domain proceedings. Although the state’s purpose in condemning the property might be rational and just, you may not want to give up your home for sentimental reasons. You soon realize there is little that you can do. This is exactly what many had to go through in New London, Connecticut where a case arose from the condemnation of privately owned real property so it could be used as part of a comprehensive redevelopment plan. Traveling all the way to the Supreme Court, it became known as Kelo v. City of New London , and has become a new precedent for years to come when interpreting the use of eminent domain. Also known as the taking clause of the 5 th Amendment, eminent domain allows the United States government to take land, from a small parcel of property to a large tract of land, for public use, as long as just compensation is granted. This use of eminent domain has been around for many centuries, all the way from medieval England to present day United States and has been conflicted ever since. When is alright for the federal government to seize private land? What does “public use” infer? While there are plenty of black and whites, like the government taking private property to build railroads and highways, there has been a lot of grey developing recently. One can see this grey area also with the controversial cases, Hawaii Housing Authority v. Midkiff and Berman v. Parker . The government is trying to promote commercial building to revitalize old urban
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areas and take back land they rightfully think is there. For the most part, I do not agree with this recent notion and I believe the state should not be taking private houses for private development. Ownership is inviolable, one’s home is one’s castle, and it is unconstitutional for the government to be taking private property to only give it to another private entity just to build upscale mixed residential and retail developments just to bring in a greater tax revenue to a town. In 2000, a public entity, known as the New London Development Corporation, sought 90 acres of a middleclass neighborhood along the Thames River in Connecticut. The city of New London argued that seizing the land was appropriate since the property could breed more jobs and greater tax revenue if it were granted to developers. The development corporation offered to purchase these 90 acres (which involved 115 residential and commercial lots), but fifteen owners of these properties did not wish to
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eminent domain - University of Massachusetts Amherst...

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