Running head: Reflection Paper Reflection Paper Introduction There emerged mixed reactions from the United States citizens when the Supreme Court judges voted with majority in the case of Kelo v. City of New London. Regardless of their reaction, everyone knew it was the inception of the eminent domain laws, which the lawmakers had avoided for a long time…
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At the same time, though most people knew what the laws called for, it was still too early to tell the measures their respective State governments would take. While some states adopted the laws as they were, others introduced to exceptions, making the laws almost unattainable. Eminent domain Eminent domain generally refers to the power of the government to control all the property within its territory and appropriate it for public use. In the United States, these powers have been delegated to the respective state governments (Weinstein, 2006). However, the government must undertake several steps before acquiring private property for public use. This applies regardless of whether the acquisition is complete, partial, temporary or right of way. In all the cases, the government is supposed to pay a fair price for the property, which is usually the fair market value or the highest price one can pay for the property in an open market. At times, the government may go further to ensure that there is fair compensation for the property taken. This includes for example, finding a premise for a going-concern business or paying relocation costs to individuals moving from their homes. After undertaking all the steps, the government must ensure that the acquired property is for public use, as any other purpose would make the process null and void (Larson, 2004). These powers vested upon the government vary from one state to another, based on the limitations placed over the use of the appropriated property (Larson, 2004). The three main factors that arose immediately after the Kelo ruling are responsible for these differences. These factors included the uncharacteristic dissent by the former justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the change in political and legal atmosphere in the country, and the outcry from both the media and the public concerning the ruling. Of the three, the dissent by O’Connor was the most unequivocal as she went further to document her thoughts, which apparently rivaled those of her colleagues. In addition, she joined hands with a group of advocates from the property right movement, who argued that the law would not only replace homes with shopping malls, but also turn farms into factories (Weinstein, 2006). Like O’Connor, the Congress indirectly opposed the enactment of the eminent law by introducing limitation bills. The aim of the bills was to deny state or local government funds, which would necessitate the transfer of private property to other parties. However, it was very categorical in the ban, as it only prohibited those that benefited private investors. Consequently, although the laws vary among various jurisdictions, it is apparent that most of the states concur with the laws. The differences originate from the need of each State to be independent and protect the rights of its residents. Most of the states that enacted the eminent domain law introduced bills that restricted the use of the appropriated property for economic development. Others went further to define economic development as those activities that would create new job opportunities and generate revenue to the state. With this specification, it became apparent that any appropriation for private gain would be discouraged (Weinstein, 2006). Alabama serves as a good example of how States passed bills to prohibit the implementation of
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