LPO Tuesday Talk: Eminent Domain and the Question of “Public Use”

Posted on June 23, 2010 by

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June 22, 2010

Dear Friend of Liberty,

The Libertarian Party of Ohio restates its strong opposition to unnecessary and intrusive government involvement in private lives, as this week marks the five year anniversary of Kelo v City of New London, a contested US Supreme Court decision voted 5-4 that allowed eminent domain to be used by the government to force property transfers between two private parties. In this particular case, a homeowner was uprooted from their home so the property could be rented to a private developer for $1.00 a year, with the intent of flushing the city with money, jobs and tax revenue.

Five years later the lot sits vacant, the private developer never obtained funding, and not a dime of revenue was ever generated. Besides thousands of dollars in court costs the next largest publicly paid expense was the relocation and additional compensation of the homeowner. “This is simply another example of how government intrusion, despite whatever story politicians drum up, always involves less liberty for private citizens and is rarely effective and never efficient,” stated Charlie Earl, Libertarian Party Candidate for Ohio Secretary of State.

The first eminent domain case after Kelo v City of New London was decided right here in Ohio by the Ohio Supreme Court in 2006.  In Norwood v Horney, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the economic benefits to the community did not constitute public use as defined in the Ohio Constitution.  This laid the groundwork for states to reject the US Supreme Court findings, and establish public use not only as an economic benefit, but of actual use by the public.

The Libertarian Party of Ohio strongly supports the rights of private property owners, and this case shines a light on the negative consequences of giving governments too much power. If a business or a private citizen forced another citizen to enter into a contract against their will, it would be a crime.  However, when government forces a citizen into a contract with the government against their will, it is considered allowable due to the government’s translation of the US Constitution.

Until next time,

Kevin Knedler
Chair, Executive Committee
Libertarian Party Of Ohio
chair@lpo.org

The Libertarian Party of Ohio was founded in 1972 as a response to the increasing encroachment on the freedoms and liberties of American citizens by our government. The LPO favors a fiscally responsible, socially tolerant government that maximizes freedom and personal choice and responsibility while ensuring the provision of required basic public services. The Libertarian Party of Ohio can accept contributions from individuals, businesses, and other incorporated entities online at https://www.lpo.org/make-contribution.html or by mailing a contribution to:
Libertarian Party of Ohio
Attn: Treasurer
2586 Tiller Ln, Ste 2K
Columbus, OH 43231-2265

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