Eminent wrongheadedness 1

Eminent domain: The compulsory purchase of private property by government “for public use”.

Eminent domain:  Sheer robbery.

From Truth Revolt:

The Sheahan family has owned a 400-acre mine in the Nevada desert town of Groom, 83 miles northwest of Las Vegas, since 1889. This was long before the construction of a secret United States Air Force military base in 1950s commonly known as Area 51. But the family is suddenly facing eviction if they refuse to comply with the military’s demands. …

The Sheahan’s may have just spent their last Labor Day on the property. They [had] until [last] Thursday to accept the payment offer from the Air Force or be evicted from their property through eminent domain. However, the Sheahans say the $5 million offer would be shared by 20 people and is “woefully inadequate” to cover 400 valuable acres that includes a silver mine, and all of the mineral, water, and timber rights.

“We want them to leave us alone,” mine co-owner Joe Sheahan said. “This is our property. It’s legal. These are patents that were signed by Ulysses S. Grant. This is not new stuff.”

Co-owner Barbara Manning added, “And we are not their threat. We have been trying to be really good neighbors for all of our lives and so have our grandparents and our parents.”

The mine has been unable to be worked since 1954 when the on-site mill was blown up and destroyed, believed to be caused by a jettisoned engine from an Air Force Jet. But at least once a month, family members take turns visiting the property to carry out maintenance, or just to simply get away.

Though the family has been allowed to stay on the property for nearly 60 years alongside the military testing base, it is now considered a security risk. From the report:

The Air Force now says that private land ownership in the testing area is incompatible with security and safety concerns.

This is a different line than the family was given back in 1984 when the Air Force sent them the following in a letter:

The Air Force could only terminate your rights through condemnation or purchase of the property. We have no intention of initiating such actions.

The Las Vegas news outlet states that the Sheahans [were]  hoping for Congress to step in to help them avoid eviction … But none of Nevada’s Republican or Democrat congressmen would respond to statement requests. The same goes for Senator Harry Reid and Republican Senator Dean Heller.

The use of eminent domain to confiscate this property may arguably be justified on the grounds that national security takes precedence over property rights.

But eminent domain is too often used to assist powerful commercial interests. The government seizes property and then sells it to private developers, claiming that the new owner will be serving “the public good”.

One entrepeneur who has taken advantage of eminent domain through such a process is Donald Trump.

From the Washington Times, by David Keene:

Conservatives are by their nature a fractious bunch, but through time they have consistently rallied around certain shared values. At times, national defense questions have dominated the national debate and the debate within the movement while at other times, social or economic issues have seemed to define the movement. In fact, however, while the public focus has changed based on circumstances, the basic views of all these hyphenated conservatives have never varied. The organizers of CPAC have for two decades polled attendees as to their core beliefs and have found a consistent belief in free markets and limited government as the dominant definer of the movement.

It’s time for conservatives who share these values to begin questioning the wisdom of the current fascination with Donald Trump. It is true that the man is successfully channeling the conservative frustration with our elected leaders and the media elite. Applauding his willingness to stand up to the false gods of political correctness is understandable as is the outrage at the way the oh-so-comfortable establishment has reacted to him and his rhetoric, but none of that can possibly justify elevating the man to the presidency of the United States. In fact, based on his public statements he is far more philosophically inconsistent or, dare we say it, “liberal” than any of the “establishment” candidates that so frustrate us.

More important perhaps is the matter of temperament. There is always a lot of talk about the “judicial temperament” required of judicial nominees, but the temperament of those we consider elevating to the presidency is even more important. A president’s inclination to abide by the constraints imposed on the office by the Founders is, as we have learned in recent years, directly related to his own concept of his place in the world. The current occupant of the Oval Office finds constitutional limits roadblocks to be bypassed or ignored. Listening to the Donald, one cannot escape the conclusion that he, too, sees himself as too important to be constrained by the scribblings of a bunch of dead white men. That alone is a reason to be skeptical about the man.

One only need go back to his reaction to the Supreme Court decision in the 2005 Kelo case giving government the power to expand the eminent domain power to allow the taking of private property not to build highways, but to give it to others so they can make money and the government can collect more tax money. … It didn’t trouble Mr. Trump, one of the few public figures in the country to publicly praise it. “I happen to agree with it 100 percent,” he said while conservatives around the country were tearing their hair out to find ways to restore the balance between individual property rights, government power and the public good.

Mr. Trump’s position then was predictable. He often entered into “partnerships” with local governments and got them to use their power to go after homeowners standing in the way of yet another Trump Tower, park or monument, and he couldn’t understand why private citizens should be able to stand in his way. A man who thought that way then and continues to think that way, regardless of whether he deserves applause for his positions on this or that issue is not one to be trusted with the awesome power of the presidency.

But it looks more than possible that Donald Trump could be the next president.

And he has some very good ideas. Just to start with, he wants to build a wall on the border with Mexico; hit ISIS hard; and make everybody richer (except hedge fund managers).

We think he would build the wall.

We hope he would destroy ISIS.

And wouldn’t  it be luvverly if he made us all richer?


(Hat-tip for the Washington Times article to our highly valued commenter liz.)

Posted under Capitalism, Conservatism, liberty, United States, US Constitution by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tagged with , , , ,

This post has 1 comment.

  • liz

    Yes, I’d really like to see him answer a question about this.
    I only saw part of the latest debate so I may have missed it, but I don’t think any question of that sort was put to him.
    Maybe it will come up later…