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The Old Dominion Strikes New London
Tuesday, February 14, 2012 3:28 pm | By Paul Petrick

On February 13, a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at eminent domain abuse sailed through both houses of the Virginia General Assembly. This legislative action qualifies the amendment for a plebiscite vote in November. The amendment would stipulate that compensation resulting from eminent domain seizures include lost profits and access in addition to the value of the underlying real estate. This change has the support of Virginia property rights advocates including Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.


If enacted, this constitutional amendment would strike at the heart of the 2005 Supreme Court decision Kelo v. City of New London. This ruling allowed government entities to expropriate private property at the behest of another private interest for the sole purpose of increasing their jurisdiction’s tax base. Politicians often further their electoral interests by saturating voting blocs with public money. Therefore, politicians are always on the lookout for ways to enhance government revenue. The judicial activism displayed by the five justices who ruled against Susette Kelo greatly advanced the cause of rent-seeking politicians at the expense of property owners.


The only silver lining in the Court’s misinterpretation of the Fifth Amendment is that the justices left the states with the ability to enhance property rights protections. The Commonwealth of Virginia’s attempt to correct the damage inflicted on property owners by Kelo is laudable. The International Property Rights Index demonstrates that there is a strong correlation between developed property rights and economic development. As the economy continues to struggle with slow growth and high unemployment, Virginia voters would do themselves a favor by supporting property rights this November.
 

Tags: EmDom Virginia | Permalink | Comments

This is starting to boderr on pure elitisme2€a6 e2€œThe individual cannot know whate2€™s best for their own property, so we must step in.e2€?To clarify, I don't believe the state has some super consciousness that gives it the ability to know better what to do with property. I instigated this discussion with a strong critique of eminent domain and qualified that I think there are some cases where it is justified. When you say that there is no case where it is justified you have the stronger burden of proof. If my example about roads isn't good enough, how about eminent domain for power lines, radio antennas or above ground cabling? Surely in the information age, these are salient issues that will face us in the coming decades.We can choose to route all these public services around private land, thereby running up the cost and complexity, or we can do with less service. The other choice is to let the state be a thug and take the land via eminent domain and try to give a fair price for it. There is no ideal solution here, but I think if eminent domain is used sparingly it is okay, but then I'm probably an elitist*.* An elitist who petitions for the poor, likes public transportation and digs marxism. Yep, that's me. ;)
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Sure, revoking einnemt domain would protect your rights, but would it do for others? You know, those other people who inhabit the same sphere (slightly oblong, but lets not split hairs) on which you live? Lot's of factors can cause the resale value of private property to decrease. We try to protect against them with zoning laws, for example, but caveat emptor remains as the overriding standard for an investment.I still don't see how a road would get built without einnemt domain, unless we want to dog-leg around the country side every time we hit a plot of private property. I think the less than optimal sale price for the confiscated land nets a greater benefit for the society. I'm not saying the government should eat our children or something like that, but every once in a while the individual has to take a hit for society. The alternative seems to be the path to solipsism and narcissism.Would it make a difference if the government paid a fair or exceptionally good price (like 125% of last assessment) for the property?
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It has been years since I dealt with property law isseus. Can we talk about China's property system? I am much more comfortable on that topic, and I suspect you are as well. Indeed, I am planning to work on a post on that topic.The first residence is not subject to cramdown in bankruptcy, but second homes are. In fact, almost all debts are subject to cramdown except for first mortgages and credit cards, I believe.Hmm
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