Supreme Court Land Decision: In Which Something Happens, And Gwen Talks About It
Okay, this is actually kind of older news, but it happened within the last month and I haven't gotten a chance to be on here recently...
The Supreme Court recently decided that it should be up to states and municipalities to decide their laws on eminent domain, if a private commercial owner wanted a private property, whether or not to give it to them. Basically, this means that if you have a nice summer home on a lake, and a casino or hotel chain decided they wanted your view, they could tell the city or state, and the city or state could tell you to get out and find a new place to live. If you have a family business and a McDonald's decides they want your property, they can get it legally through the state.
Now I think that if you aren't hurting anyone, you should basically be able to do what you want on your own private property. This was the basis for the eminent domain laws that were in place. For instance, someone owned a whale in South Dakota (I've heard, may just be an urban legend, but it's still a great example). They could not get enough water or food to keep the whale alive, so it died and stunk up South Dakota for miles around. Would the state be within its rights to say "Get that whale off your property, it smells horrible and it's bringing down people's property values, not to mention all of the people allergic to rotting whales"? Absolutely. Or, to take a more common example, someone who has a rotting-tire, rusting-traincar, old-rusting-car collection sitting out in the middle of his yard, along with a half-ruined couch covered in mold and an old box-spring mattress. Should the city be allowed to say "Clean that up"? Yes.
But to allow states and cities to take away perfectly normal, harmless residential properties, only to turn them over to private companies, seems like a huge violation of Fourteenth Amendment rights. (No state shall deprive a citizen of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, don'tcha know.)
Thousands-of-years-old question: What is this world coming to?!