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Wednesday, February 28, 2007


The government and their power of eminent domain.

In his article Taking Away Your Property on MSNBC.com author Dan Caplinger discusses the different aspects of eminent domain in the United States. He explains that while the power of eminent domain is very old and is supposed to allow the government to take private property from individuals for the benefit of the public with just compensation, this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes they take the land so that it can be used to build bridges, roads or schools on, which is okay for the public. But in other instances the government takes ownership of a private parcel of land from an individual and gives it to a contractor to develop. In this situation many people believe that the land was taken for private use and that they were wronged.

The Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution states that “no person shall be “deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”(1, l.10) Our government should not be going beyond what is deemed to be their constitutional right. Infringing upon individual’s rights by taking land for private use is wrong. It will be interesting to see how the signing of a bill by President Bush to limit takings to where they only benefit the general public affects future takings. The hope is that future takings by the government will be minimal and only out of necessity for public use.

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