Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Eminent Domain: Supreme Court Got It Wrong

The following is a Guest Blog, Submitted by Richard A. Cooper, former Chair of the Libertarian Party of New York (2000-02) and former Chair of the Libertarian Party of Nassau County.

Time$cam, Eminent Domain Abuse and the Kelo Decision

How can anyone confuse the word "use" with the words "purpose" and "benefit"? The Constitution remains in exile under the assault of those who would give a carte blanche to government. The American Revolution was fought to protect individual liberty and private property from the privileges granted the politically-connected. The Supreme Court's decision threatens the property owners, taxpayers, and tenants of the entire country. Condemning private property and transferring it to private developers is not just unconstitutional, it is morally wrong.

Libertarians like myself consider this to be legalized theft. As the former chair of the Libertarian Party of New York (2000-02), I combatted the NY TIMES seizure of property for its new headquarters, the condemnation of Long Island's own St. Luke's Pentecostal Church on behalf of developers and the threatened seizure of an entire neighborhood in New Rochelle to become an Ikea furniture store. I called the NY TIMES scheme "Time$cam." Today their partner, Bruce Ratner, wants to wipe out a Brooklyn neighborhood to bring in the Nets basketball team as well as office and luxury residential buildings. Don't think you are safe it you don't live in a "blighted" area. Any government can designate any area as "blighted."

Don't think you are safe it you are a tenant. Owners are required to get compensation. Tenants aren't. Taxpayers will foot the bill for eminent domain always.

President Bush is amongst those who benefitted from eminent domain abuse when the Texas Rangers went to the city of Arlington to condemn land for a new stadium. They didn't use all of it and sold it at a nice profit. Corporate sports welfare is a common "public purpose" of eminent domain abuse.

Americans must demand that their federal and state legislators rectify this error. To serve justice, to defend the Constitution and to protect themselves, Americans should vote for candidates who oppose eminent domain abuse. Many Democrats and Republicans will, but their parties embrace the urban renewal and economic development imperatives behind eminent domain abuse. Only Libertarians can be counted on to fight legalized theft, in whatever form, all the time.

Richard A. Cooper,
Westbury, New York
Learn more about the Libertarian Party at www.ny.lp.org.

The views expressed by Guest Bloggers are their own and do not necessarily represent the opinions of The Community Alliance, its leadership, membership or otherwise. All opinions, views and commentary are, of course, welcome.

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