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The Courts Government News Politics

Supreme Court Rules Private Property Can be Seized 1829

slew writes "CNN is reporting that the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in a case where a local community seized private houses for commercial development (not public works) under the guise of eminent domain. Needless to say, the little guy loses to the commercial developer this case... "
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Supreme Court Rules Private Property Can be Seized

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:08PM (#12893915)
    To all US /. readers who still believe that the USA has freedom.

    Read this 8.pdf []

    Your government can now take your property for the "public good"
    You are no longer safe in your own home!

    The end has come and you only have yourself to blame.

    What are you going to do?
  • Aarghhh. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RoverDaddy ( 869116 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:08PM (#12893922) Homepage
    This runs so counter to the concept of using eminent domain for the public good that I could scream. I guess there's not much chance Congress would consider limiting eminent domain to the more 'traditional' uses like roads, schools, etc. Sigh.
  • Bogus! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Uruk ( 4907 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:11PM (#12893959)
    I've posted other comments here [] about this, but here's the basic review:

    The city government claims they seized the property for economic development, as part of a larger plan. Sure, the property is going to be turned over to a commercial developer, but it's "public use" of the land because of the larger economic development plan.

    The state courts: Well, the city says their main reason for doing it is public use, not to benefit Pfizer, so it must be public use!

    The supreme courts: We'll let the state courts worry about this. They said it's public use, so it probably is. Therefore, it's OK for the city to seize the land.

    This is not the building of new roads, this is not the elimination of blight, this is a real estate development deal, and people are losing their houses over it. Does this frighten anybody but me?

  • Re:Woot!!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DeadSea ( 69598 ) * on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:12PM (#12893972) Homepage Journal
    Your rights online:
    • Courts say that local governments can use eminent domain to seize virtual property in computer games such as Everquest
    • Internet news sources report that your offline property rights are being revoked.
    • Editors at the website Slashdot are confused about the meanings of "your rights" and "online"

    Why doesn't the "your rights online" section have an article about the Adult entertainment law that went into effect today? The law requires websites with adult content to keep documentation that all nekkid people are above the age of 18. While it may take down pictures of what may be 17 year olds from the internet, the law effectivly shuts down many adult sites that have no child pornography but don't have records [].

  • Re:bush judges (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tuxedo Jack ( 648130 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:13PM (#12893990) Homepage
    Funny enough, the dissenting judges appear to mostly be conservative in nature from what I've read of their rulings.

    And in an ironic twist, David Souter _is_ a Bush-appointed judge - Bush the elder, that is.
  • by nphinit ( 36616 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:13PM (#12893996)
    ...go ahead America, keep getting fat, lazy, stupid, watch Survivor, listen to music, play X-Box, read People, watch Dr. Phil, diet, eat, play, spend, spend, spend, spend.

    Don't read a book though. But do watch infotainment and hear about how a common household product might kill your children TOMORROW!

    Nevermind the fact that

    1.) The Supreme Court just declared private property is only private until the government says they have an idea how someone else could perhaps use it better?

    2.) The Senate is about to amend the U.S. Constitution to allow prohibiting burning a piece of fabric if that fabric happens to have 3 certain colors (red, white, blue) and 3 certain shapes (long rectangles, large rectancles, stars) in a certain pattern.

    Nevermind the demise of liberty. Make sure you see the #1 movie at the box office this weekend, or else you aren't a patriotic American.
  • by Anonymous Monkey ( 795756 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:16PM (#12894044)
    I'm sory Mr. Dent, but you can't fight city hall!
  • Re:bush judges (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slashdot_commentator ( 444053 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:20PM (#12894114) Journal

    The minority opinion of today's decision is pretty much the group I normally harbor such incredible contempt. And YET, today it is so obvious they were the ones making the correct decision. I am stroking out just trying to grasp this contradiction to my world view.

    How do you go to a citizen, a property owner, someone who as poured his sweat and portion of his life into obtaining and maintaining his land, and then tell him he is to be evicted because some rich guy, or some soulless corporation has decided to take his property over???
  • Re:Gotta Say It.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tweek ( 18111 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:21PM (#12894134) Homepage Journal
    You fucking idiot.

    Four of the most conservative judges on the bench ruled AGAINST this trash issue.

    All of the Democrats on the bench ruled in favor of it.

    Don't spout off shit you don't understand as an attempt to play a little political game.

    And people need to stop fucking voting republican OR democrat. Put someone who actually values personal property rights and personal liberty as a whole.

    If you hadn't noticed I'm furious as hell about this ruling.
  • Re:Aarghhh. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BurntNickel ( 841511 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:24PM (#12894179)
    The issue here (I think) is who's public good is it for? Who is the public that is benefiting? It is clear that the developers are winning big in this case and the homeowners are the loosers, but how does one determine what all of the other fallout is?
  • Blighted areas (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rumblin'rabbit ( 711865 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:25PM (#12894201) Journal
    They argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas.

    Actually, even this argument would not be good enough in some towns, since they have defined "blighted area" so broadly that almost any older home qualifies. For instance, some have legislated that a home without an attached garage is "blighted".

  • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:31PM (#12894309)
    I don't think it means what you think it means. []

  • by GregBryant ( 868930 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:36PM (#12894373) Homepage Journal

    The city's actions couldn't make it more clear:

    "Personal property", i.e. your house, has nothing to do with "Corporate property", i.e. strip-mines, clear-cuts, multiplexes, shopping malls, archives of intellectual property, privatized railways, privatized power companies, etc.

    People confuse them both as "private property". We're confused because large corporations want us to confuse the two.

    The next time some corporation protests that their "private property" must be protected, on principle, call them on it! Your private property isn't protected, unless you're powerful!

    Most corporate property used to belong to everyone, in commons, before it was stolen, subsidized, extracted, and polluted. We pay the bills to clean the mess up. Yet we can't keep our houses!

  • Re:bush judges (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ivan256 ( 17499 ) * on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:37PM (#12894400)
    How do you go to a citizen, a property owner, someone who as poured his sweat and portion of his life into obtaining and maintaining his land, and then tell him he is to be evicted because some rich guy, or some soulless corporation has decided to take his property over???

    With a big check in your hand? These people were offered on average $1.7 million for (again, on average) .1 acres of land.

    In general the government is only supposed to do this stuff when the value to the community outweighs the harm to the individual. You (and I as well) may disagree that was the case in this particular scenario, but could you say the same thing when they had to take a few houses in order to start providing running water for people for the first time?

    I don't agree with what the city of New London is doing in this case, but you've got to admit that when you calm down and think about it a bit the issue isn't so black and white.
  • Good for democracy? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by smagruder ( 207953 ) <> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:44PM (#12894499) Homepage

    Strangely enough, this SCOTUS ruling could be a potential boon for local democracy and activism in the United States.

    If indeed the ramifications are not "random", as Justice O'Connor put it (and I think she's right), then what we'll see are pitched local battles taking place across the entire nation, with commercial developers vs., well, the people. This may finally be the tipping point that wakes everyone up and sparks a vast new wave of civic activism. After all, the "local authorities" are democratically elected, and if they go off the deep end with seizing private property for pure commercial interests, it won't be long before people get out their pitchforks, so to speak.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:45PM (#12894515)
    No, it's not time for a constitutional amendment.

    It's time for a constitutional convention.

    Now that all three branches of the federal government of the United States has shown that it cares nothing for the rights of the people, it is time for the people to disband the federal government.

    The states can do this right now, absolutely legally, by two-thirds of the states calling for one (U.S. Constitution, Article V). The states need to call such a convention, and utterly re-write the Constitution.

    This idea of the kind of idiots that we have roaming around calling themselves "statesmen" rewriting the Constitution used to scare me to death. But it clearly can not get any worse without blood running in the streets.

    And if the states refuse to take back their power from the federal government, then the people will have to take back their power from both.

    That, or enjoy being serfs and licking the boots of our new lords.

    "If this be treason, make the most of it." -- Patrick Henry
  • by aliens ( 90441 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:46PM (#12894520) Homepage Journal
    I think I mislead with my first post. I wanted to point out that the decsion, which supports States' rights is typically a Conservative tune. However in this case it was flipflopped.

    I believe the judges voting for it, in saying that a local judge would know what was best for the local public good.

    They have faith in their fellow judges to decide on a case by case basis what is best.

    To me O'Conner's desent is more activist than anything. To say that the gov't is under the power of those with more resources basically says that the gov't is messed up. If they had blocked this, that would mean a blighted neighborhood could never be removed by the government unless it was to make way for a park. (exaggeration)

    I'm off course here, anyway I just wanted to point out I didn't mean to say it was the more Conservative judges that voted for the measure, just that those who did sounded a lot more like a Conservative than not.
  • Re:Gotta Say It.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tweek ( 18111 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:03PM (#12894744) Homepage Journal
    Out of my parent's basement? I love how that's a nice solid comeback when people have nothing else to say.

    I swear to god the day that someone tries this on my house (yes the one the bank owns for another 25 years or so) I will sit on my porch with my 12 guage and let the bulldozers run me over.

    This is how people defended property rights before it was codified and we may yet have to go back to that.

    I wouldn't vote Republican if my life depended on it. Nor would I vote Democrat. In the last three elections I've voted Libertarian and will continue to do so because I know the process that the candidates have to go through. I know that anyone willing to get involved with a third party has less on his mind than political power and more along the lines of making a change for the better.

    The only reason I spend time in my basement is because that's where my office is.
  • Re:bush judges (Score:2, Interesting)

    by whatAnotherAolUser ( 463787 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:06PM (#12894783)
    except in this case the poor saps had million dollar homes that had refused for years to redevelop their properties. this has been allowed for blighted areas for years, so now it is happening to people that are "rich". i say its about time. the new uses will improve tax revenue for the city greatly which is good for everyone. if these homes were ghetto/minority then nobody would have brought suit and the land would have been razed years ago for redevlopment.
  • Re:bush judges (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:16PM (#12894935) Homepage Journal
    No, it was the same document, but an earlier draft. The wealthier states wanted it, because they still believed in the superiority of the upper class and didn't want the poor people to be able to take their wealth from them. The poorer states didn't like it so much because they had so little of it and didn't want the upper classes lording it over them. They compromised on that and a few other things, and moved on.
  • Re:bush judges (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Orne ( 144925 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:21PM (#12894993) Homepage
    In the supreme court, the Liberal/Conservative monickers actually represent the traditional labels for these titles:
    • Liberals are for Change
    • Conservatives are for Remaining the Same
    In Congress, the term "Liberal" has become synonymous with Socialist, mostly because the Liberal Democrats have (over the last 50+ years) promoted legislation with Socialist (providing for the Commons at the expense of the Individual) results. The modern Conservative Republicans exceedingly fall under the term "Neo-Conservative", falling away from the traditional budget hawk positions to a Nationalistic "protect the citizens at all costs".

    Gone are the Democrats and Republicans of our fathers' era...
  • Re:bush judges (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HTH NE1 ( 675604 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:22PM (#12895008)
    "I was a conservative. Then they changed what `conservative' was. Now what I am isn't conservative, and what is `conservative' seems weird and scary to me. It'll happen to you!"
    -- Ford
  • How utterly absurd (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Roadkills-R-Us ( 122219 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:31PM (#12895114) Homepage
    If it's my house, my business, my whatever, it's mine. Not yours. Not New London's. Not whomever else's. I worked for it. Mine. It's utterly irrelevant how much you're prepared to pay for it if I don't want to sell. It is black and white.

    You want to build something else? Fine. Go take over the city council's properties. Leave mine alone. This is theft, pure and simple. There;'s precious little difference between this and Cuba's "nationalization" of property after the revolution.

    You wait and see. There will now be a LOT of cases where governments decide to "streamline" the process of changing their cities, counties, states, or whatever just to please whoever's in charge, or the local big business they want to buddy up to.

    It won't usually involve $17M/acre. It will be backed up with guns if necessary. And it could just as easily be you as anyone else.

    Based purely on this one ruling, those judges should be (at a minimum) in public stocks the rest of their lives. Preferably on a flatbed trailer so they can be toted around the country for everyone to laugh at, maybe throw a few tomatoes. I wouldn't have a problem with flogging, either.

    But while we're at it, throw in the New London governmental morons who started this.
  • Re:All hail the rich (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:41PM (#12895214)
    That is exactly what has happened. In so many areas of our country. We're up to our necks in doo'doo. So much we can taste it. You cant afford to live in the US because the rich moved Jobs overseas and dont feel like employing you (that is unless they need someone to wipe their ass).
  • by Zak3056 ( 69287 ) * on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:55PM (#12895336) Journal
    The whole concept is from legislation dating back to the 1800's for the railroads to gobble up property to build cross-country rail lines.

    Actually, eminent domain is mentioned in the constitution, so the concept goes back further than you state.

  • Ford (Score:5, Interesting)

    by falconwolf ( 725481 ) <falconsoaring_20 ... minus cat> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @07:14PM (#12895543)

    Ford cannot credibly be described as a conservative.

    It depends on how you define "conservative" as the meaning is changing, has changed from previous definitions. The same with "liberal". Thomas Jefferson's and Thomas Paine's "Liberal" was someone who believed in a small and limited government, but today it's closer to socialism or big government. Meanwhile conservative back then believed in a big and powerful federal government. Conservatives are still for big government, the only difference between conservatives and liberals today is in what part of government is big. The only political party today with the classical liberal outlook of a small and limited government is the Libertarian Party [].

  • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @07:28PM (#12895670) Homepage Journal
    Washington State. Its a no-fault state, which means a spouse can cheat and it doesnt matter in the divorce court. Behavior like that should count. Thats the reason I filed, a cyber affair in world of warcraft turned into a real affair. She was calling him every weekend on a phone card, so I wouldnt know.

    I have a co-worker from California, he was married 12 years, since it was over 10 years, he has to pay alimony for life or the spouse re-marries. Guess what, no insentive to remarry with a free income.

    Another co worker just paid 80K in legal fees to get custody of his child from an abusive mother.

    This is CRAZY.
  • by BgJonson79 ( 129962 ) <<ude.ipw.mula> <ta> <htimsrs>> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @07:35PM (#12895719)
    People > State > Federal
  • liberals (Score:3, Interesting)

    by falconwolf ( 725481 ) <falconsoaring_20 ... minus cat> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @07:40PM (#12895777)

    Conservativism at one point in time stood for smaller government, it wasn't until the 80s during the Reagan administration did the definition change. (the Neoconservatism era)

    Actually it was liberals who stood for a small and limited government, as did the two Thomases, Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine [](or TomPaine.common sense []). To get a good idea of what liberals stood for read Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" [], "Rights Of Man" [] or other books of his.

  • by Cyno ( 85911 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @07:59PM (#12895939) Journal endment05/14.html []

    Any sovereign nation has to have this power. But I agree that "just compensation" is not properly defined. I would prefer something like double market value, since this action is taking away someone's liberty to pursue happiness, property, etc.

    Freedom is more important than fixing the symptoms of our failed economic system. If they can't fix the real problems that cause blight, poverty, foreclosure of large business and government-run institutions, then these symptoms will only get worse. Taking away one's freedom doesn't help us in any way.

    Now taking away one's freedom in the name of sovereignty, for national security or in extreme and similar situations, does make sense. Though that should happen much less often.

    What our Supreme Court did is decide that a small town can take your home from you if they fear economic collapse after GM or Boeing or a military base shuts down. There's no certainty that by taking your home they will improve the economy. Its a gamble and you lose by default, if they take your stuff.

    Probably better to live elsewhere anyway. This country sucks. It can't even understand what the real problem is and much prefers to patch the symptoms instead of doing a proper analysis and unbiased evaluation of how these problems occur.
  • by falconwolf ( 725481 ) <falconsoaring_20 ... minus cat> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @08:01PM (#12895953)

    The court needs to be abolished and replaced with Supreme Juries. Each case/review/whatever sees nine of us selected at random and flying out to Washington to deal with whatever the problem is.

    This is unworkable if you want to maintain justice. At least judges are supposed to be knowledgeble of the USA Constitution, most citizens aren't nearly as knowledgeble. Having said that I am a strong believer in Jury Nullification [] and a Fully Informed Jury [].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, 2005 @08:01PM (#12895957)
    Oh yes, it takes a special kind of Court to rule that something grown on private property and used on that same private property solely by the owner is governed by the interstate Commerce clause of our Constitution.

    Wow, someone who knows the Wickard v. Filburn ruling. Has to be my favorite Supreme Court ruling. You can't even get a law professor to explain it to you with a straight face.

    The court ruled that if poor old Roscoe Filburn hadn't grown his own wheat to consume on his own Ohio farm he would have had to buy it in the open market. Even if his purchase had been in his own state, somewhere somehow there would be an interstate effect in the wheat market. Hence his non-participation in the market is itself interstate commerce. By that logic there is not a single thing you can do (or not do) that will not be considered interstate commerce.

    What's that you say, you were going to veg out on the sofa tonight? Ha, by not going out to the movies and spending your money on tickets you have engaged in interstate commerce. Ergo, vegging out on the sofa is now within the realm of federal regulation.

    What I can't figure out is why those stupid founding fathers bothered with declaring that only interstate commerce fell within the federal powers. Don't they know they could have saved a word? Ha, those silly framers sprinkling unecessary words around the constitution. And editing was hard in those days.
  • by slew ( 2918 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @08:04PM (#12895976)
    Sadly, much new development is just a redistribution of wealth since apparently most developers CAN'T afford to even do thier development w/o tax breaks and other incentives from the municipalities involved. If they could afford the true cost of the development, they could likely entice the owners out of their realestate with fists full of cash (or a nice home).

    We are living in a real-estate bubble (commercial and residential). Development costs are being held artificially low by government subsidy (interest rates and otherwize) and pricing is being held up by speculators (borrowing on margin to try to get returns higher than the simple interest rate). Maybe one of these days we will pay the piper (like Japan did) and I'll predict it'll make the dot-bust look like a blip, but as long as the government is manipulating things, not much will be changing...
  • by Tony ( 765 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @08:17PM (#12896070) Journal
    Still, a plot of dirt is a plot of dirt. If you're getting paid its price, who cares?


    If I live in a house I love, such as a house my father built, and in which I grew up, that house is worth a *lot* more to me than it is to "fair market value." The price of a thing is the price you, the owner, sets. If people don't want to buy, that's their problem.

    If I want to sell, I might have to lower my price. But that is *my* decision. Or, it *was* my decision up until a few days ago.

    I believe that's called a capitalist marketplace. It's the way a free market economy is *supposed* to work (but it doesn't).

  • Re:Pardon, BUT... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EccentricAnomaly ( 451326 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @09:15PM (#12896461) Homepage
    The argument here is whether seizing your private property and giving it to another private entity qualifies as "public use" because that person will pay more taxes than you.

    Does this decision mean if I own some rare painting, baseball card, etc the gubberment can take it and give it to a museum because of the public benefit from higher tourism? Sounds like it to me.

    This is a terrible decision. Alas, there's no higher court

    time to write congress and state assemblies.
  • by Jay Carlson ( 28733 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @09:45PM (#12896661)
    Ah, that's the true irony to this Supreme Court ruling. What if the area around these folks was taxed at the rate that the new s00per duper real estate moguls would have wanted? They would have been forced to move without the libertarians noticing that their voluntary eviction on burdensome property taxes was an effective seizure.

    I suppose the one upside would have been that the locality would have been forced to pay them the value that they were about to be taxed on.

    I'm not sure where I'm going with this. I see a need to force land owners to make effective economic use of the land, and not just park on it because they managed to get in at the right time. See your local first ring suburbs; there are plenty of low-value land-holding businesses like self-storage that manage to return *some* kind of money to meet unrealistically low real estate taxes, but it's nowhere near what the value to the community would be of five story condos with an associated urban retail cluster. But the guys holding the self-storage place don't feel particularly pressured by taxes to do anything *useful*.

    The value of taxes such as the estate tax and property taxes is that they force people to create real value, not just sit on their accreted wealth until something magic happens. As Americans, and Americans true to our Constitution, how much leverage should we have to force wealth generation rather than asset hording with the hopes of eventual secular profit?
  • Re:Ford (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ying Hu ( 704950 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @10:10PM (#12896826)
    Even more insightful - the conservatives essentially support in various guises a plutocracy, while the liberals have trouble deciding which of several agendas they most prefer - and thus the consistency of the recent conservative ascendency over the 'waffling' liberals. (Of course, the conservatives have managed to coopt the religious conservatives as a power base, apparently because they both use the word "conservative" and both favor centralized control, but it's pretty funny, because mostly these two groups are diametrically opposed, or at least orthogonal in their real goals).
  • Protection Money (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sniper32 ( 894661 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @10:48PM (#12897051)
    I suppose what bothers me most about this decision is the tax issue. People in most locales pay real estate taxes for the entire term of their property ownership. Consider this: If you pay off your mortgage, you still have to pay real estate taxes. If you fail to pay the tax at any time, the government takes your property. Paying this tax is essentially the same as paying protection money to organized crime. Now, the government can *take* your property for private use, using the argument that the increased taxes benefit the community. So, tax more tax revenue (Ie Protection Money) collected, the better the community? Take this decision a little further down the slippery slope and what you find is a bidding process for how much protection money an individual is willing to pay for the privledge of owning property.
  • by RoadWarriorX ( 522317 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:02PM (#12897108) Homepage
    OK, although I do not like this decision, but I think there is a bigger issue. The way it works now, taking property by eminent domain is decided by a few politicians, usually by some council or other assembly vote.

    Now, the same legislative body cannot levy property tax (at least in Ohio) without an election. So why can't eniment domain issues, which are relatively rare, be voted on by the public? I mean, if it really is for public use (or benefit), should the public have a say in it?

    Personally, I would think that an eminent domain election would certainly be better for both sides. Whether it was for highways, schools, or commercial projects, at least there is a process (or scruntinization) that seems more true to the public interest than the agendas of only a few politicians.
  • Re:pwn3d (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jared42 ( 673262 ) <jaredbuckner@[ ] ['gma' in gap]> on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:06AM (#12897789) Homepage

    It may worse than that.

    All the posts I've seen so far discuss only the expropriation of land, but the term property deals with so much more. And now that the government can force the movement of any property from one private entity to another based solely on the promise of increased tax revenue (good for the Public, right?), what's to stop them from doing so with intellectual property?

    You write a nice bit of code, you GPL it for the community. Free code isn't bringing in any sales taxes, so the government seizes the code and makes it available to a large private corporation for further development, paying you a one time compensation for your work. Large private corporation uses your code to increase jobs, increasing sales, which increases tax revenue for government. That is for the Public Good, right?

    If they can seize the products of my physical work, they can take the fruits of my mental work as well.

  • by blaksaga ( 720779 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:11AM (#12897812)
    So who defines "adequate compensation?" If I bought land, built a home with my own two hands, and watched my kids grow up playing in my back yard it would be worth much more than market value to me.
  • Re:bush judges (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zero_offset ( 200586 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @06:41AM (#12898882) Homepage
    The word is "except" not "accept".

    I have one word for you: beachfront. We've had a lot of this happening in Florida. People whom many slashdotters would probably classify as "rich" have had their beachfront property -- extremely expensive pieces of land -- stolen by local governments for private development purposes (typically codos or hotels). In fact, this pseudo-eminent-domain chicanery has been running rampant throughout the past several years, it just doesn't get much coverage in the press.

  • by houle ( 790096 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @08:20AM (#12899309)
    When I was 8 years old after a long legal battle the CT state department of transportation eminent domained my Family's land and many of our neighbors. They wanted to build a highway that didn't need to be built and for which they had been expressly told by the department of environmental protection that they could never have the permits to build. Among other things we had a river in our back yard, 90% of the land was considered wetlands, and the property abutted Nathan Hale State Forest ( I'll point out some of the land for which was sold to the state at a deep discount by my grandfather who was/is an avid conservationist) My parents were given $180,000 for a house that was appraised at $280,000. Beyond the value of the property my entire extended family lived right in the same area (grandfather was a farmer who gave his land to his children) My aunt and her family lived across the street, and my uncle and his family lived next door. Needless to say my family was scattered after they took their houses too. Today more than 17 years later the highway was never built and the house which my father built with his own hands on land his father gave him sits abandoned. I hope the people in New London stand their ground against the bulldozers. And when the first officer comes to physically remove them from their land I'll be crying tears of joy if they blow his head off with a shotgun.

IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.