Tag Archives: eminent domain

David Beats Goliath: Eminent Domain Land Grab Squashed!

guest blog by Deborah Goonan

Here’s more positive news for homeowners, just in time for the holiday season.

Residents of homes in Pleasant Ridge, Charlestown, Indiana, have good reason to celebrate this year. They fought City Hall, and won! A few months ago I blogged about the Mayor of Charlestown declaring the modest neighborhood of 345 homes “blighted” and planning to sell the land to a private developer. That would have meant all the existing homes would be razed to make way for new development of multifamily homes.

Institute for Justice has been working with citizens in a grass roots campaign to defeat the planned sale. It turns out that Indiana was one state that amended its eminent domain laws in 2006, in response to the well-known Kelo v. City of New London “Little Pink House” legal case. Indiana’s law now states that land cannot be taken and handed over to a private developer.

What do we take away from this story, combined with the recent news of the NJ’s Supreme Court’s decision to uphold free speech in common interest communities – a huge victory for HOA homeowners?

Grass roots pressure works, when properly organized. Our State Constitutions matter! States can strengthen their own Constitutional laws to prevent Developers and Real Estate corporate interests from exploiting loopholes and running roughshod over the interests of Ordinary Citizens. In both of these cases, it was legal advocacy – not political advocacy – that resulted in justice being served.

Local politicians in Charlestown fell in line when public pressure reached critical mass, with the help and guidance of advocacy group IJ, possessing legal clout and credibility to get the job done.

A tenacious retired prosecutor was determined to defend his rights. The ACLU in New Jersey stepped up to the plate, and submitted an Amicus Brief that blew CAI’s legal arguments out of the water.

Despite all of the political polarity we have in our country these days, note that positive changes are happening with bipartisan advocacy efforts – the “Conservative” Institute for Justice, and the “Liberal” ACLU.

When concerned Americans unite against injustice, in ways that are constructive, good things happen!

What are your thoughts?

(link to IJ news release: Largest Eminent Domain Land Grab Defeated


Somebody Tell Me Why This Isn’t 1930′s Style Facism?

I don’t like to go off half-cocked. I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science, but for the life of me I can’t get my mind wrapped around this one.

Bankrupted California cities are now talking about seizing hundreds, possibly thousands of homes in California to condemn them, because the owners have troubled mortgages.

Under the controversial practice known as “eminent domain for Public Purpose” (Kelo v. City of New London) cities would be able to walk into essentially anybody’s home and say, “Sorry, you’ve gotta move. This property now belongs to the city!”

It’s a blatant, in-your-face, bare-assed grab of private property which our Constitution guarantees the government CANNOT do! Cities could then re-sell these properties to other homeowners who are theoretically more financially sound. The city makes a profit. The new investor gets a lower priced home. And the previous homeowner who was supposedly the deadbeat who couldn’t keep his HOA dues and his mortgage up, basically sacrifices the built-up equity of his home to the Goddess of Redistributivism.

Isn’t this bald-faced theft from the poor and subsidization of the middle income and rich? Of couse it is!

Lenders are furious that legislatures would arrogantly subsume their contracts with borrowers. Lenders took the risk in the first place to help put people into homes. Now, bankrupt cities across California are taking a very real look at this property-grab plan. That’s the crazy thing: they actually ARE looking at this home confiscation plan as something moral, and problem-solving.

Despite the obvious violations of the U.S. Constitution (actually, only fools and Tea Party members still think the Constitution should be observed by American lawmakers), it all amounts to a land grab from private citizens that has has no precedent; absolutely no precendent ANYWHERE in American law.

It does have precedent in Nazi Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Stalin’s purge of Russia, Castro’s seizing of the assets of Cubans, and Hugo Chavez’ nationalization of everything he can remember to nationalize in Venezuela.

Have we really come so far where this kind of outrage can be casually discussed at the local City Council meeting? California has the 9th Circuit of Appeals, the nation’s most radical court which would probably enthusiastically endorse the whole land-grab scam.

For the flag-waving, patriotic, red, white and blue American, the shame and embarrassment just grows. How do you explain to new immigrants that America is now considering adopting the same policies that drove them from their socialist home countries in the first place?