Skip to comments.Statement of the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Supreme Court in New London v Kelo Case
Posted on 06/25/2005 8:17:22 AM PDT by snowsislander
Contact: Rhonda Spears, 202-861-6766 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Elena Temple, 202-861-6719 or email@example.com, both of the United States Conference of Mayors
WASHINGTON, June 24 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a statement of the United States Conference of Mayors Executive Director Tom Cochran on Supreme Court ruling on City of New London Vs. Kelo case:
"The United States Conference of Mayors policy states that the nation's mayors support the right of local governments to retain eminent domain to promote economic development in their individual cities.
"City officials continue to act in a most judicious manner as they exercise fair and balanced judgment in protecting the rights of property owners while planning for the city's overall economic viability.
"The Supreme Court joins with The United States Conference of Mayors, as well as the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, the International City/County Management Association, the National Council of State Legislators, the Council of State Governments, and the International Municipal Lawyers Association in recognizing that without the use of eminent domain, cities cannot make the changes necessary to sustain healthy economic and demographic growth.
"The power of eminent domain provides elected officials at all levels of governments one of the basic tools they need to ensure the growth and well-being of their communities."
They used to call that communism.
I thought they would show a sense of reason. I was obviously VERY wrong. D*MN.
I can just see the stories about how poor Blacks and Hispanics are being driven from their homes (shacks by the Cities standards) to provide the Koffi Annan's of your local Cit/county Goves to buy a new Jaguar.
"... and will do so until they discover that they have virtually unlimited power, at which time they will begin to abuse that power, as all men in history have."
"The power of eminent domain provides elected officials at all levels of governments one of the basic tools they need to ensure the growth and well-being of their communities."
"It also accords unto mediocre, corruptible public parasites the right to confer and sustain private ownership of property. In other words, one of the most sacred of western legal canons is now secured against the most paltry of human edifices: trust."
Oh ain't that a beaut.
I realize it's one man voicing an opinion here, (not sure how many members of this org. support Mr. Cochran), yet that opinion is an ominous one.
Robbing from the poor (typically affected by this ruling) to benefit the wealthy.
Isn't that a reverse Robin Hood and something the liberals have accused conservatives of doing?
I definitely wanted a different outcome...but I'm still a bit torn on whether the federal government has the right to prevent localities from doing that.
I don't know folks. This is really serious. How far are people willing to protect their property from government theft?
Very good news for developers and their investors.
They don't get it.
My property is not there for your "economic" development unless I want to sell it to you. If the "public" needs a bridge, or a dam, or a highway that provides a "public use", as the constitution says, then give me the market price and I'll go, otherwise, get off my property.
They don't get it.
The possible, "possible", "benevolence" of some government activity does not trump the basic rights guaranteed to individuals under the constitution.
"For me as mayor, I would ask council to be very, very careful and very responsible if and when we are to consider an eminent domain project here." --- Galveston, Texas Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas
there's been a steady, unrelenting movement in the united states to undermine property rights by both democrats and republicans.
in colorado farmers and ranchers can no longer run cattle, unless there have been continuous cattle in place, on their farms and ranches from the continental divide east--to the east side of the front range urban corridor.
Are you kidding? They'll get reelected too, probably all of them...
what's particulary onerous about this ruling is that the distinction between democrat and republican does not apply.
for example, a liberal city that wants to gentrify part of its run down core might team up with a conservative developer.
here, it's the highest bidder that pleases the city.
Several black historical land marks where destroyed, but I guess there was an economic boom, not.
Unless it was fertilizer to dump in front of the massage parlor.
"City officials continue to act in a most judicious manner...
Keep your eye on what happens around Middle River, Maryland. A county property grab was tried two years ago and failed because of the public outcry. That court ruling is a license to steal.
Nope. I was foolishly hoping that locals would have some sense of decency... Silly FReeper that I am.
Not to worry! He consulted Mugabwe first!
Nope. Sure didn't.
I'm not torn at all. The US Constitution says "don't do that!" and again, the USSC says "Eh? You say sumptin'"?
Correctamundo. See my post from yesterday (front page of the Blight For All.
Article is at: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1429855/posts
The U.S. Conference of Mayor on Supreme Court decision
"Great idea! Thanks Supremes! Hot damn, more power! Okay... now, who wants to take Joe and Charlene's Fruit Stand and turn it into a nice, new waste-product processing plant... You! You with your hand up! Think of all the nice new money flowing into our bank accounts... um, I mean, into the local treasuries from all that new tax revenue. Now, next up... remember that guy who challenged me in the last election? Heh, heh, well, he's gonna be living in a used trailer next to the town dump. And just to make sure of it, we're gonna raize his house and BUILD a new town dump right next to it... Heh, heh... ain't this fun!"
To me, the Constitution is using plain language to prohibit exactly: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
I agree with Justice Thomas that "public use" means public use, not private use. From page 40 of this pdf compilation from the Supreme Court:
This deferential shift in phraseology enables the Court to hold, against all common sense, that a costly urban-renewal project whose stated purpose is a vague promise of new jobs and increased tax revenue, but which is also suspiciously agreeable to the Pfizer Corporation, is for a "public use." I cannot agree. If such "economic development" takings are for a "public use," any taking is, and the Court has erased the Public Use Clause from our Constitution, as JUSTICE O'CONNOR powerfully argues in dissent.
And, implicit in that is, why should the matter turn on a Federal constitutional provision dealing with eminent domain? The feds didn't take anything. So we are asking, how much of the rights contained in the federal constitution restrict the states, and if only some of them, who says which ones? And if only some of them, are they all applied with the same exactitude? Who says?
What do the amendments passed (or forced through) after the civil war have to do with any of this? If the Supremes are deciding all these things since Reconstruction, have they been consistent? Could one say the Supremes have changed political agendas over the decades?
Are the intentions of the founding fathers considered? How about the intentions of the Radical Republicans who crafted the Reconstruction amendments? Or the states which ratified them? Or the Scalawags and Carpetbaggers who ratified them? Did these people intend that the Supremes could apply federal constitutional rights against the states as they saw fit?
Welcome to the bizarre world of con law 101 which was clearly not misnamed.
Yep. That's pretty much my take. I don't normally do the Chicken Little thing, but the sky does look a might shaky this morning...
This is only my personal opinion, but I believe this statement is in fact an operational fallacy- the primary result of this will be economic insecurity; when the risk of owning a home or a business has been increased by the implicit threat of eminent domain, fewer individuals are likely to dedicate their time toward creating a business or saving to own a home, and this will result in a downward spiral in economic development.
The attack on families, the increase in welfare dependents, the increase in apartment and home renting as opposed to ownership, the many burdens and costs imposed on businesses- this appears to be just another step on the way to institutionalized socialism.
"The Socialist Activist Network: Working to Improve the Ultimate Police State" (in partnership with F.A.G.)
Perhaps for domestic investors, but as the poster Vicomte13 astutely pointed out yesterday, this will likely spur at least some international investors to give more consideration to such investments since obviously there is now a large advantage given to investors over small owners of property.
I guess my main concern is allowing a federal court to decide what constitutes private use vs. public use. Do you know how many "economic development" initiatives cities do that amount to little more than handing money to private developers, in the hopes that jobs will materialize? That's so commonly justified as being in the public interest that, though I disagree with it, I wonder whether shmucks in black robes can say "No, none of that was for a public purpose after all."
Then again, if the courts aren't going to draw that line between public and private, what's to keep cities from routinely violating our rights?
Like I said, I'm a bit torn.
Looks like we have our work cut out.
GOP Official Response: [insert cricket sound].
Latest GOP Headlines and Important issues (from GOP.com on June 25 at 11:56 AM EST)...
June 24, 2005 : Dems Vs. Dems: House Leader Nancy Pelosi Vs. House Leader Nancy PelosiI'm not sure what I'm more disappointed in: the SCOTUS decision to strip the last vestiges of personal property rights that we had or the GOP's non-existent reaction to it. Maybe the last headline ("A Party Without Ideas") was about the GOP itself? Maybe it should have been titled "A Party without a Clue" or "A Party without Gonads" or "A Party without concern for individual rights".
June 24, 2005 : Meet MoveOn.org
June 24, 2005 : In Case You Missed It: A Party Without Ideas
I'm very depressed about this.
And, just yesterday in my hometown, the City Council voted on an eminent domain issue where the city will take over about 40 acres right near downtown, which is currently occupied by working class people. Eminent domained them right out of there.
Only 1 vote against it. Coincidentally, the guy who voted against it is about the only person on the entire council that's worth anything.
I would like to pretend that city governments aren't frothing at the mouth over this decision, but apparently it took less than 24 hours in my hometown for them to starting using their new-found powers.
So much for "judicious use" and other rhetorical allusions to being fair with this new power.
[mattdono shakes head] I just never thought that our country would come to this. If a man's own home isn't sacred, then what is?
If I don't have purview of my own home, then by their logic, neither do I have purview over the things in it. And, next, they will use (twist) this power into telling us that we can't own guns. Then, the local sherriff is at your door telling you to get out or they will have to use force.
Then what will happen?
It has always been apocolyptic to consider our own military turning on it's own citizens. And, it probably wasn't fathomable because of the honor of the American solider. And, I mean no disrespect to law enforcement, but it certainly a lot easier to see a local sherrif and SWAT team have a showdown with a homeowner that ends in armed conflict, then it would be to have F-16 fire on a homeowner. All citizens in the country would massively revolt if the military power were turned on its own citizens. Most citizens wouldn't even notice if a local sherrif "took out" a homeowner, his family, whatever. And, no doubt, the local sherrif, local government, local and national media would paint the homeowners as...you ready?... a whacko gun nut. (Sound familiar? Call it a watered down Ruby Ridge or whatever, but that's where we
will are headed.
If someone in the federal government is going to say that cities can do this (SCOTUS), then someone in the federal government needs to say that they can't (President? Congress?). Because it seems like all of the other local and state levels have already taken side (see the list above).
Needless to say, my "collection" is getting a very through cleaning this weekend. And, yes, I will be adding to the collection soon.
I guess this is where we are in this country. I'm not in Boston and I'm not pissed off about tea tax. I'm just a regular guy who wants liberty and freedom. What's so hard to understand about that?
They don't have the right. They have the DUTY and the POWER to prevent it by virtue of the founding documents.
This is a tragedy! I thought we lived in a FREE country where government cannot take that which is hard fought and sweat is the show of true work. Now the libs and the welfare groups can use "eminent domain" to justify their support for the illegals that are taking over our country. Makes me wonder if I should work at all!
Absentee ownership, absentee landlords- do you want someone halfway around the globe making decisions that will have long-term effects on your local community?
It is another operational fallacy that a rising economic tide lifts all boats- it only lifts yachts.
It is a major conceit, or gamble, of the proponents of economic globalization that by removing economic control from the places where it has traditionally resided- in nations, states, subregions, communities, or indigenous socities- and placing that control into absentee authorities that operate globally via giant corporations and bureaucracies, all levels of society will benefit. But this is not true. They are operating on a macroscale removed from the everyday realities of local conditions or awareness.
They lobby for their ideas and theories as though they were viable and cogent, as if they themselves were expert visionaries and managers of their new centralized global architecture. They continue to praise their formulas despite the numerous spectacular breakdowns they have caused: the Asian financial crisis, the Russian financial crisis, the near economic meltdown of Brazil, the collapse of the Argentine economy, along with the global increase in poverty, hunger, inequity, dependency and powerlessness.
The main beneficiaries are global corporations and the economic elites who have instituted these processes- not you, not me, not the small or medium sized business owner, and not the average home buyer.
And to top it off, putting the US at the mercy of foreign investment puts the US at risk of foreign capital flight.
With all due respect to Vicomte13, I believe the needs of the domestic investor outweigh the needs of the international investor- and further, why are international investors investing intetrnationally? They should be investing in their own communities.
This is also a coup because two branches of government have conspired, and succeeded with impunity, to dis-enfranchise the people.
Why did this court do it? After all, this gang of five are not renown for their restraint. If you are as cynical as I am, you will look no further than the class which is empowered by the ruling: Intra city municipal politicians.
No, I am not in favor of such FDI taking advantage of our newly weakened ownership positions as citizens (please take a look at my profile to see what I think of our massive sale of debt to foreigners, and I am just as unpleased about seeing our assets as well going to wide foreign ownership), rather I think it is a factor that we should recognize.
I would say state and county politicians are equally empowered by this ruling.
OK, it seems we are not in contention- and yes, I suppose it is worth recognizing, however, I do think that the benefit from any foreign investment- if any- are greatly outweighed by the negative consequences of this decision, and I suspect you agree with me.
"Perhaps for domestic investors, but as the poster Vicomte13 astutely pointed out yesterday, this will likely spur at least some international investors to give more consideration to such investments since obviously there is now a large advantage given to investors over small owners of property."
What I wrote applies to domestic investors in real estate as well, so long as they are associated with LARGE development enterprises.
What the US Supreme Court did does indeed make title to land in the United States subject to local political control. Local governments may now shift the ownership of land between private owners in order to secure what is, in the opinion of the local government, the best use of land. Private owners who are expropriated must be paid "fair value", which is generally based upon tax assessment rolls, which are themselves generally rather outdated and do not reflect the true market value of the property. However, since people pay their property taxes based on these assessed values and do not complain that, no, they should be paying more in taxes because their land is worth more, it is difficult to argue that the city has undervalued the property when a taking comes. All of the OTHER reasons to contest the taking have been removed by this decision. Before, cities had to fight legally to justify doing as they did. Now, the burden is on the individual expropriated landowner to prove that the city acted irrationally or unfairly in doing as it did.
This is American federalism at its finest. The decision is pressed down to the very lowest level: a town's planning and zoning board, which is generally composed of appointees who themselves are part of the real estate profession (this is why they seek out these position). The federal government has been eliminated from the process by the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court has said that there is no constitutional issue involved here. They have put everything on a rational basis. If the local zoning and planning commission says, in their judgment, that your house is better served as the property of a higher user, then the property is condemned, you are paid based on the assessed value on the assessor's rolls (and have to prove that the assessment is wrong and undervalued: the burden of proof is on the land owner being expropriated, and if he does not prove his case, the town wins), and the higher-use developer obtains the property from the town at a negotiated price, probably higher than what you are paid as the legal "fair value", since this is a different transaction between different parties.
Now, the clear winners in this arrangement are the private investors and developers with the most money. Money in America means strong political connections, especially at the local level where there is generally no outside economic interest and so the largest pool of money that takes an interest dominates. The Supreme Court has eliminated federal oversight or care in this area. It's a local issue, just as the American Founding Fathers envisioned, at least by some arguments.
In such an arrangement, the developer always wins, and in a competition between developers, the high bidder always wins. Clearly, the biggest corporate interests and developers will prevail in such competition, and it is in the interests of capital investors, foreign or domestic, to place their money with the largest development organizations.
Indeed, it is almost biblical. Jesus said that to those who have, more shall be given, while to those who have little, such little as they have shall be taken from them and given to those who have. Of course, Jesus was not referring to US land law.
What this decision did, from my own perspective of dealing in real estate investment with international capital pools, is make the US a more desireable place for large development projects. The biggest fish now have no federal barrier to being able to make large developments more quickly, local officials are always easy to persuade with promises of larger tax revenues and profits and development, and individuals - who always are the problem when they resist, can be more easily swept aside than elsewhere.
Historically, we should remember that England's rise to the economic prominence which resulted in English power that most English and American people are proud of, historically, started out as an agricultural revolution with the Enclosure Acts, whereby the British Crown used its power of eminent domain to sweep away all of the petty yeoman farmers and peasants from the land, enclose it into large estates for the merchant and noble grandees, and thereby make the English agricultural economy much more efficient.
The large pool of disaffected and displaced agriculturals were then available to be transported to America to increase the imperial wealth, or impressed into the Navy or the Army to improve British power vis a vis her continental rivals.
The Supreme Court decision of the US is redolent of the old Enclosure Acts of England, and is quite in the Common Law tradition. It offers an excellent climate for the more-rapid amassing of land by large developers and the elimination of the problem of local resistance by mere small landholders, thereby making investments in American development projects more likely to produce a quicker and favorable return for international and domestic investors who choose the larger investment houses.
Of course it is not so good for the property security of small stakeholders and individual homeowners in areas that are middle or lower class, and their property values may well be negatively affected. But this merely makes such land, if desired, even cheaper for the large developers who might desire it.
The ideal situation, from a commercial developers perspective, is booming values in large commercial development projects and deeply sagging individual residential property values, with ease of removal of single residences and conversion of cheap residential land into higher-margin commercial land or high-end residential land.
It is quite cruel, but the beauty of capitalism, when it is not interfered with by government regulation, is that profits are maximized and idiosyncratic individual desires are not permitted to stand in the way of profitability, because market forces overwhelm them. The Supreme Court of the US just made the US a more desireable place than it was before for the top developers, their investors and professional service people who profit from servicing them.
I see this as old school liberalism shifting power to a favored class.
Thank God I live outside city limits. Way outside.
This SCOTUS has come up with some of the worst decisions in history. Not all the worst ones, but some very very bad ones. The Lawrence sodomy case, and the no death penalty for "child" murderers under 18 come to mind.
If this disgusting decision isn't somehow undone, I can't even imagine the future.
Here is a copy of the letter I sent to the Conference of Mayors:
RE: New London v Kelo
To paraphrase the immortal words of John Paul Jones, "We have not yet begun to fight!"
While the concept of eminent domain powers for public use is well established in our country, the use of eminent domain powers to transfer land from one private citizen to another while the city, county or redevelopment agency collects a commission for the transaction in the form of increased tax revenues is an outrageous twisting of the Founders' original intent.
The American citizens of this Nation will not sit still for this egregious usurpation of power. You are on public notice that we will litigate your collectivist entities into the ground, and vote elected officials out of office until this right is wronged.
What this means is that the citizens have to take an interest in what their elected officials and their staff are doing. The Mayors and City Managers like this. The Citizens elect the Mayors and elect those who appoint City Managers. Ultimate power resides in the People. But, the People need to get off their country estates and come to town for City Council meetings now and then.
Thank goodness for Justice Thomas, documenting the fall of the Republic one dissent at a time.