web analytics

Mother Jones Human Rights Reporter

As the race for the White House heats up, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has come under fire for a number of policy proposals and his past behavior. But in September 2015, Trump was accused of abusing a rarely discussed aspect of government power the ability to take over private property without the owner’s permission. This practice, called eminent domain, has long been criticized by conservatives as an example of government overreach. So we wanted to know, can the government actually just take your land Well, eminent domain is when the state essentially annexes part of your property in order to.

Repurpose it for public or thirdparty use. In the United States, this concept is regulated by the 5th Amendment, and requires that the land be used for public benefit, and that the owners must be fairly compensated. Still, despite being paid for the value of the land, owners are still required to give up their rights to it whether they want to or not. Additionally, what constitutes public use has been considered overwhelmingly broad. Although most examples of eminent domain concern things like trying to build a highway over an existing neighborhood, there are also times when the repurposed use is actually private.

And commercial. In one 1954 case, homeowners in the District of Columbia saw their homes destroyed, and the land given to private developers to build a shopping center and office buildings. In 2005, another property in Connecticut was taken over and sold for one dollar a year to private developers in an attempt to increase city revenue. The following year, President George W. Bush issued an executive order, prohibiting private parties from using eminent domain in order to make more money. Another big issue is with the payment in exchange for taken property. Although the constitution.

Can The Government Seize Your Land

Says there must be just compensation, what exactly qualifies as just Currently, this is defined as the fair market value. However problems arise when that value is extremely low, and prevents those being bought out from finding equally low priced housing nearby. In one interesting case, an entire town in Pennsylvania was seized through eminent domain on the basis of safety. A mine fire threatened existing residents, and all the town’s houses were condemned. Even the town’s postal ZIP code was revoked by the state. Residents were unsuccessful in a lawsuit attempting to keep them from being evicted.

But while eminent domain may actually seem like government overreach in some cases, in countries without it, massive problems arise. In China homeowners who refuse to move when the government attempts to lay roads or build bridges have cost a considerable amount of money in construction hold ups and workarounds. Many of them refuse to leave in an attempt to get more money out of developers, creating an unwinnable situation. So whether eminent domain is a reasonable solution or a violation of rights generally depends on which side of the land you’re on.

Leave a Reply