ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Eminent Domain and How It Affects the American People

Updated on August 18, 2015

According to American Law Institute-American Bar Association, the definition of eminent domain is “The power to take private property for public use by a state, municipality, or private person or corporation authorized to exercise functions of public character, following the payment of just compensation to the owner of that property.” In plain language, this means that the government has the constitutional authority to take land from property owners in order to use the space for public good. Eminent domain allows the government to use confiscated property to build hospitals, schools, highways, and other public services, as long as it pays the previous owners whatever the property is worth. However, many Americans believe that what the government considers being ‘just compensation’ is not always what it appears to be.

Government Can Take Your Home
Government Can Take Your Home | Source

Government Authority to Confiscate Your Home

Eminent domain is granted to the government by the 5th Amendment of the US Constitution, and allows the government to use policy power if necessary to obtain a property. There are many kinds of property which are subject to this policy, including land, water, and even airspace. When the government believes that it needs a particular property for the public good, it begins procedures called condemnation proceedings. However, property owners have a right to be heard at these proceedings because of American’s right to due process under the law.


The important thing is for the government to meet the four specific criteria for eminent domain;

  1. Must be owned property
  2. Must be acquired by the government
  3. Which will be utilized by the public good
  4. Owner must be justly compensated.

The federal government has imposed certain requirements for just compensation, such as ensuring that the previous owner is able to purchase a comparable property within the community. However, there have been many reported cases of eminent domain abuses by the government for financial gain.

Some districts and smaller governments have used eminent domain to contract certain property to developers and independent contractors. Most governments and particularly the officials responsible for the abuses get away with their crimes because of the idea behind eminent domain; any action that increases the value of the land is sufficient for public use.

How do you feel about eminent domain?

See results

Abuses of Eminent Domain

One particular example of this injustice occurred in 2002 in Long Branch, NJ. During this time, the government proposed several redevelopment projects to try to improve the seaside community. Many lifelong residents were evicted from their homes under the premise that there would be development to improve the aesthetic and financial environment of the community. Instead, a large block of condos and several high end shops and restaurants were built, blocking the seaside view for many residents who were not part of the zoning project and removing dozens of families from their homes.


Residents explained that they were “more than willing” to renovate their homes to increase property value and improve the community, but the local government had already made up its mind. Some residents were paid as little as $140,000 for seaside properties that were later estimated by private inspectors to be worth almost twice as much. After the citizens were evicted, the large condos went up, and the community gained what came to be known as ‘the biggest eyesore of the Jersey Shore.’

The government emerged as a sort of hero, bringing in business and wealthy investors into a community that had taken a financial hit in recent years. Instead of the middle-class life-long residents that had contributed so much to the area over the years, politicians now observed wealthy renters and tourists who poured money into the new businesses and by proxy, into the pockets of the corrupt government officials. Eminent domain abuses occur each year in a variety of communities, and many argue that anyone’s community could be at risk.

There are valid arguments on both sides of the argument for and against the government’s rights to eminent domain. Many argue that it is necessary, and that the hospitals, parks, and schools built through this property confiscation speak for themselves. Others say that it is a gross injustice and a flagrant abuse of the government’s power, which can be seen through the people who are removed, sometimes forcibly, from their family homes, which often have more value than simply its financial assessment.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      3 years ago from North Texas

      Eminent Domaine is abused more and more everyday. It's even used when Walmart wants to invade another neighborhood! Since when is a Walmart Store for the good of the people? More and more it's all about the almighty dollar. As things stand anyone could lose their property and rarely are they compensated as they should be. Sharing this with followers.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)