Posts tagged as:

eminent domain

Environmental roundup

by Walter Olson on July 14, 2014

  • California resists idea of charging market-clearing rate for water — too much like economics — and instead encourages tattling on neighbors [New York Times, Coyote]
  • Academia smitten by notion of “climate reparations” [Peter Wood, Minding the Campus]
  • Costly market intervention: “Minnesota doubles down on nation’s top biodiesel law” [Watchdog]
  • Reusable grocery bags have their problems for sanitation and otherwise, but California contemplates banning the alternatives [Katherine Mangu-Ward, Steven Greenhut, Reason]
  • Coming: film about Kelo v. City of New London eminent domain case [Nick Gillespie, Ilya Somin]
  • 45 years later: the famous 1969 fire on the Cuyahoga became a fable for its age [Jonathan Adler on the Cuyahoga]
  • Should beachfront owners have to open their land to all comers? [NY Times "Room for Debate"]
  • Plus: “EPA has no business garnishing wages without due process” [Examiner editorial, earlier]

{ 2 comments }

The state legislature adjourned last week having abandoned a threat to seize the hit TV show “House of Cards” through the use of eminent domain, with negotiations over the extent of tax subsidies to the show still hanging in part. I’ve got an update at Cato, with specific attention to the use of eminent domain to confiscate moveable and intangible assets, as opposed to land; in earlier episodes, Maryland has gone after the Baltimore Colts football team (which escaped) and the Preakness horse race (which agreed to stay).

Kind of like Venezuela with Old Bay seasoning: “Responding to a threat that the “House of Cards” television series may leave Maryland if it doesn’t get more tax credits, the House of Delegates adopted budget language Thursday requiring the state to seize the production company’s property if it stops filming in the state. … Del. William Frick, a Montgomery County Democrat, proposed the provision, which orders the state to use the right of eminent domain to buy or condemn the property of any company that has claimed $10 million or more credits against the state income tax. The provision would appear to apply only to the Netflix series, which has gotten the bulk of the state credits.” [Baltimore Sun, Washington Post, earlier citing David Boaz]

{ 9 comments }

The Supreme Court, 8-1 with Sotomayor dissenting, agrees with a Cato Institute brief (earlier) and disagrees with the government: the feds can’t conjure away landowners’ rights as part of the “rails-to-trails” program. Trevor Burrus explains.

{ 1 comment }

Environmental roundup

by Walter Olson on January 31, 2014

  • Behind costly EPA crackdown on wood-burning stoves, a whiff of sweetheart lawsuits? [Larry Bell]
  • Reminder: California’s Prop 65 doesn’t actually improve public health, makes lawyers rich, and harasses business [Michael Marlow, WSJ]
  • “What I learned from six months of GMO research: None of it matters” [Nathanael Johnson, Grist]
  • Eminent domain threatens store owner in Fire Island’s Saltaire [NYP]
  • In case you haven’t seen this one: chemical content of all-natural foods [James Kennedy Monash]
  • “The court ordered that the county pay the turtles’ attorneys fees.” [Dan Lewis, Now I Know]
  • “On the government’s books, the switch [from steel to aluminum in Ford's new F-150 pickup] is a winner because MPG goes up.” [William Baldwin, Forbes]

So will the federal government pay just compensation? The Supreme Court may decide that question in the pending case of Brandt v. U.S., in which the Cato Institute has filed an amicus brief. [Ilya Shapiro, Cato]

{ 1 comment }

Environmental roundup

by Walter Olson on December 4, 2013

Environmental roundup

by Walter Olson on November 5, 2013

{ 1 comment }

Environmental roundup

by Walter Olson on October 11, 2013

Inspired in part by the work of Cornell law professor Robert Hockett, the city of Richmond, Calif. is planning to 1) use eminent domain to seize private mortgages for considerably less than their actual worth; 2) cut a deal with existing residents of the homes to install FHA mortgages in place of the seized mortgages; 3) use the windfall surplus — derived by paying the private mortgage holders less than the actual value of their forcibly seized holdings — to subsidize the local residents, thus buying their political favor, as well as leaving a goodly sum to pay off the private outfit called Mortgage Resolution Partners that’s pushing the scheme (written up sympathetically in a recent New York Times account).

What could go wrong, aside from to the spirit of the Constitution and the rule of law? Gideon Kanner points out that even California eminent domain law still requires the payment of “fair market value, not some bargain basement figure pulled out of thin air”:

…we believe that not even California courts will stand still for that. Why not? Because under our law, if the condemnor tries to lowball too much, and makes an unreasonable pre-trial offer, it may have to pay the condemnees’ attorneys’ and appraiser’s fees, plus other litigation expenses, on top of the “just compensation” required by the constitutions. And, of course, any diminution in value brought about by the the market’s reaction to the imminence of the condemnation, cannot be considered in determining fair market value. The property has to be valued as if unaffected by the condemnor’s plans or by any preliminary steps taken toward the condemnation. Cal. Code Civ. Proc. Sec. 1263.330.

For other reasons the scheme may prove much more expensive to the city of Richmond and its taxpayers, see Ilya Somin [more, yet more] Other commentary: Matt Welch, Richard Epstein. Earlier here, here, etc.

{ 4 comments }

  • After bank burglarizes Ohio woman, law will give her curiously little satisfaction [Popehat]
  • North Las Vegas scheme to seize underwater mortgages through eminent domain raises constitutional opposition [Kevin Funnell]
  • “The SAC Insider Trading Indictment” [Bainbridge, WSJ MoneyBeat]
  • “He who sells what isn’t his’n/Must buy it back or go to prison.” Most naked short selling driven by fundamentals, study says [Daniel Fisher]
  • NY AG Schneiderman to Thomson Reuters: don’t you dare sell early access to the market-moving survey you pay for [Bainbridge]
  • “The Confidential Witness Problem in Securities Litigation” [Kevin LaCroix]
  • “The puzzling return of Glass-Steagall” [Tabarrok]
  • “FATCA: How to Lose Friends, Citizens and Influence” [Colleen Graffy, WSJ via Paul Caron/TaxProf, earlier]

{ 4 comments }

Environmental roundup

by Walter Olson on July 22, 2013

{ 1 comment }

New Jersey’s highest court ruled that a Harvey Cedars couple do not have to be compensated for the loss of an ocean view, as distinct from the loss of actual land, after the government condemned a strip of their beachfront for a dune restoration project. Relevant factor: the dune restoration is believed to have saved the couple’s home when Hurricane Sandy hit, and that benefit could properly be offset from the taking. [MaryAnn Spoto, Star-Ledger; earlier; edited/corrected to reflect comment]

More from reader TD in comments: “The reporter absolutely got it wrong. The court agreed the loss of a view could be a taking, but that it needed to be offset by the benefit incurred because the dune would presumably prevent future flooding. The lower courts had not allowed for the offset.”

{ 4 comments }

My Cato colleague Roger Pilon explains the significance of the Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday in Arkansas Game & Fish Commission v. United States, in which the federal government flooded a property owner’s land but resisted demands for compensation on the grounds that the “taking” of property was temporary, since the flooding would subside. Earlier here.

{ 1 comment }

If the town’s dune project saved their house but also spoiled their view, are the oceanfront owners owed compensation? [Asbury Park Press]

{ 2 comments }

Supreme Court roundup

by Walter Olson on November 12, 2012

{ 1 comment }

More election notes

by Walter Olson on November 8, 2012

  • Virginia voters overwhelmingly voted to curtail state’s eminent domain powers [Ilya Somin]
  • “The most misunderstood Supreme Court decision of the last thirty years, Citizens United, made absolutely no difference in this election. Which is no surprise to anyone who read the case. Let’s hope we stop seeing attacks on free speech based on faulty premises.” [Ted Frank; Alison Frankel, Reuters; John Samples, Cato]
  • “A Quick Round-Up on Education Policy and the 2012 Elections” [Andrew Coulson, Cato]
  • By 58-42 margin, voters in liberal Montgomery County, Md. curtail county’s obligation to bargain with police union over policy changes with effects on working conditions [Gazette, earlier here, etc.]
  • “Double down on social issues” advice wouldn’t have put Romney over the top, to put it mildly [Hans Bader] Medieval obstetrics expert Akin pulled less than 40 percent against Missouri’s unpopular McCaskill [Andrew Stuttaford, Secular Right]
  • Entrenchment of union rights in state constitution wasn’t the only bad idea that Michigan voters rejected: they also turned thumbs down on unionization of home health aides and mandates for utility use of renewables [Conn Carroll]
  • Louisiana voters strengthened protection for individual gun rights in their state constitution [Volokh]

{ 1 comment }

Property rights roundup

by Walter Olson on September 18, 2012

  • “Property Rights Panel at the Cato Institute’s Constitution Day” [Ilya Somin] Related: “Sackett v. EPA and the Due Process Deficit in Environmental Law” [Jonathan Adler]
  • Feds’ fishy forfeiture attack on Massachusetts scallopman [Ron Arnold, Examiner]
  • California politicos seek crackdown on lenders’ supposed “retaliation” against municipalities considering seizing mortgages by eminent domain: “You Can’t Use Voluntary Action to Try to Stop Government Coercion” [Coyote; earlier here, here, here] Will Congress step in to shut down the grab? [Kevin Funnell]
  • “The government of Honduras has signed a deal with private investors for the construction of three privately run cities with their own legal and tax systems.” [A Thousand Nations, Todd Zywicki, FedSoc Blog]
  • A Philadelphia business owner decides to clean up and improve an adjacent, neglected city-owned lot, and soon has sad cause for regret [Philly Law Blog]
  • Georgia claimant: “Hi, I own your land although I have no evidence of that” [Lowering the Bar, update]
  • “Blight” condemnation could stymie hopes for historic preservation in Denver [Castle Coalition]

{ 1 comment }