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What controls should your state impose on government’s power to take people’s property against their will?

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allows government to take people’s property against their will as long as they are paid fairly and it is for the public good. This is often called the power of eminent domain, and the part of the Fifth Amendment that enables it is referred to as the takings clause.

In one sense, losing your property to the government through eminent domain is always painful. Although eminent domain requires that governments pay property owners a fair price for their land and buildings, the central fact of the practice is that the government can buy the property, even if the owners don’t want to sell. People perfectly happy with their home or business have to leave, and very often, no amount of money will make them feel good about the situation.

It’s not always so clear

But a debate over eminent domain that is raging throughout the country makes a further distinction. It would be hard to argue that the government shouldn’t have the ability to buy the land it needs to build a school, for instance, and most people don’t object to that use of eminent domain.

In recent years, local governments have used the power to amass large parcels of land that are then turned over to private developers. Eminent domain can only be exercised for the public good, but in these cases, local governments have said the public good is served by the economic development they facilitate, since those new developments may raise tax revenue, bring in jobs, and revitalize neighborhoods.

Opponents say what is really happening is private developers are growing rich while long-time residents are displaced. They say that government is acting for the developers instead of the people by putting together land that private companies wouldn’t be able to convince property owners to sell.

Kelo v. City of New London

Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court decided a case that dealt directly with this issue. The suit had been brought to the courts by residents of New London, Conn., who were having their homes taken to make room for a waterfront development.

The city put together a redevelopment plan for 90 acres of land after the Naval Undersea Warfare Center there closed in 1996. The state created Fort Turnbull State Park out of 18 of the acres, and drug company Pfizer built a research facility next to the site.

The plan shows the remaining land with a conference hotel, a pedestrian riverwalk, 80 new homes, a US Coast Guard museum, marinas, retail shops and offices. The New London Development Corporation, a non-profit organization that helps the city with redevelopment, negotiated the purchase of most of the 115 properties in the area, but some owners didn’t want to sell. To move the project forward, those properties were taken by eminent domain.

Nine people who owned 15 properties challenged the takings in court, arguing that their properties weren’t being taken for a public use, as specifically required in the Fifth Amendment.

In the Supreme Court’s decision, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that it has been accepted for a long time that governments don’t have the right to take property from one private party just to give it to another. But he said in this case, the development plan created by the city showed that there was a public purpose to the project and that it wouldn’t just benefit another private entity.

Opinions on the case

The case generated a tremendous amount of discussion among politicians, lobbyists and various interest groups. The Institute for Justice released a report opposing the decision and eminent domain for economic development; the paper was written by attorney Dana Berliner.

“The Kelo v. City of New London decision represents a severe threat to the security of all home and business owners in the country,” Berliner said in a release announcing the paper. “Not only does it allow a whole category of condemnations that were previously in legal doubt, but it actually encourages the replacement of lower-income residents and businesses with richer homeowners and fancier businesses. The vast majority of Americans understand what is at stake, even if many so-called experts do not.”

Eddie A. Perez, the mayor of Hartford, Conn., testified before Congress when it was considering limiting eminent domain in the wake of the Kelo V. City of New London decision. He disagrees that eminent domain hurts communities.

“Eminent domain is a powerful economic development tool used sparingly that helps cities create jobs, grow business and strengthen neighborhoods,” he said. “No locally-elected official whom I know would use eminent domain to undermine the integrity of or confidence in homeownership in his or her community. For urban America and communities of color, in particular, homeownership is the ticket to the American Dream.”

New developments

In view of the Supreme Court decision, there have been calls across the country for legislatures to enact their own controls on when government can take property. Since then, four states have passed new limits, and recent news reports indicate that about 40 states are considering new legislation. There is also momentum building in Congress to respond to the Supreme Court’s controversial decision.


What do you think?

Is redevelopment a good enough reason for the government to take property? In the Connecticut case that went to the Supreme Court, most property owners sold willingly. Should the revitalization of a downtown be stopped because a few people don’t want to go? On the other hand, these projects are almost always built by private developers. Should the government be using its power to take property to benefit private companies, even if those companies’ projects also benefit the town? What are legitimate reasons to take property? Where would you draw the line? Join the discussion, and let us know.
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Comments
5/20/2014
Arizona
Za
Pvcp
The government should not be able to give land to private developers.

2/20/2014
Gardena/California
jasmine
ECMS
just as the fifth amendment says the government can't take away our land without compensation, and according to the government the government is taking advantage of eminent domain

10/14/2012
Ledyard/CT
J.Farquhar
Mr. Galante/Ledyard High School
I think that the government should not be able to take our land without giving us the choice to leave. Not giving us the choice to refuse is taking our freedom away and using redevelopment as an excuse is wrong because it is forcing people that might not want to move, and then making them doing just that. The government says that it is helping the community, but I think that it is only benefitting the private companies that are having buildings built there. Even if the companies are benefitting the towns that they are in, it is displacing the people from their houses against their own free will. Critical buildings like military bases, new houses, or buildings along those lines should be reasons to take peoples property and if they want to build new houses to increase property value, at least they could let the people they are kicking out have a home. In my opinion, it seems the government is more concerned on making money, than protecting our rights to freedom when it comes to taking property.

4/20/2012
Glen Burnie/MD
Nick
Howard/North County High School
I believe that we as people should have the right to refuse. Our country was built around the belief of choice, may that choice be religion or many other strong topics. I think that if the government is denying us the right to choose, they are denying us the right of choice, in which we as people should be granted at United States citizens. We did nothing wrong, so why strip of our rights? And economic development cannot be used as an excuse, due largely in part that everyone has a fair shot at the job. If these people have to get up and leave their homes, just for these business' to prosper, these people should at least have a job to come to, in case the money given by the government is insufficient. Anyways, if people want to say no, they should be allowed to say no. They haven't lost that right, so why can the people we elected to REPRESENT, not LEAD but REPRESENT, tell us that we must leave, even though we may have lived there all our lives? We are people too and we have no reason to not be allowed to live our American Dream!

1/22/2008

Chloe Period 6
RRMS, West Linn, OR
Redevelopment is not a good reason for the government to buy property against the owners will. In the Connecticut case, the government should only be able to use the land that they bought from the property owners that were willing to sell it. The plan only replaces the lower-income property owners with higher-income property owners. Even though the original owners earn less money, it doesn’t mean that they should be replaced with owners that earn more. That isn’t fair. The government should only be able to take a person’s land if it’s for a good reason. For example, if the owner’s aren’t paying what they need to on their property, then the government should have the right to take it away. The only other way that the government should be able to take property is if the owner is willing to sell. Otherwise, the government shouldn’t be allowed to buy it.

6/12/2006

angelica C
Arts High School (Newark,NJ)
I think that regardless if it is for the common good or not the land should ban Eminent domain. The government should not be allowed to take a person's land.

6/10/2006

Manel W.
Arts High School (Newark,NJ)
Why should the government have the right to TAKE anything that doesn't rightfully belong to them? Redevelopment is great, but if the people living there don't agree you cannot tell them what's good for them. Besides, it's all in the pursuit of money. The only legitimate reason for taking the property is the creation of new jobs for the people.

6/9/2006

Brittany A.
Arts High School, Newark, NJ
Government has way too much power. I disgree with the power of eminent domain because I do not think anyone should have the right to take over someone’s property against their will. However, it depends on the situation. If the house owner is not paying what they should be for their property, I believe it should be taken away. But on the other hand, if the government wants to build new condos or build a golf course over the property, then I do not think the government should have the right to take someone's property.

6/5/2006

Joe T.
Springfield High School, Springfield, PA
It's not an easy question for me to answer because in the area that I live in, the use of eminent domain really isn't a concern to me. However, the people aren't simply 'kicked out' of their homes. They are compensated for it and also they have the satisfaction of knowing they helped the community. I'm sure there are some situations where a house or a neighborhood may be very sentimental to a person, and that's a shame. The government can't please everyone though. They have to make hard decisions everyday.

5/31/2006

Tiffany L.
Springfield High School, Springfield, PA
I feel that if the private developers can't buy the home owners out then the government shouldn't be able to force them out. I think that they should only be allowed to kick people out of their homes if it's for the good of the community such as a doctor's office, a needed dentist, or something of that nature. I don't think that they should be able to kick people out because they need a coffee shop or a small shopping center-- that's not right on the previous homeowner's part. You have to look in depth at the situation, someone could have grown up in the house and doesn't want to move but then they are being forced out by the government because they want to build something there. They are profiting off of someone else's old property in which the homeowners should get a certain percentage of what the private developers' business brings in. They need to have very legitimate reasons for why they need the property. In Springfield Township, they are building another school next door to the middle school and had to buy the neighbors homes out to do so. In that case, I think it's right for a better learning environment for the kids.

5/31/2006

JessicaF
Springfield High School, Springfield, PA
I feel that most people my age feel the same way about the government. The government has way too much power. I highly disagree with the 5th amendment because I do not think that anyone should have the right to take over someone’s property against their will. The government should only have a fair and just reason to take over one's property. I think it is only necessary if the people living in that household are involved in any kind of illegal activity. If the government gives a construction company the go-ahead to knock down someone’s house when they do not allow it, then I think that is when the government has way too much power. Even if the people who are getting their property taken away by the government do not like the idea, I do not think that money should be thrown at them because sometimes it is not always about that.

5/25/2006

Jonathan J.
Medina Valley High School, Castroville, TX
Concerning this arduous issue, it is hard to say who has power. The Constitution proctects the citizens, with the right to property clause, while the Government upholds the 'Eminent Domain' doctrine. If the acquistion by the government of a citizen's property does benefit a given area, I believe the government should have the authority to do so long as a reasonable price is offered to the owner.

5/24/2006

James
Central, Philadelphia
They should not take the land against people's will. The houses do make all the money for the government, and we have jobs for people. Homes and houses are limited to the growing population. The houses are more important than a job because jobs can be found elsewhere. They cannot just destroy lands and homes to start up businesses.

5/24/2006

Justin S.
Central High School of Philadelphia, PA
I feel that the government should be allowed to take homes if in result it is for the better of the people. For example, say they were building a new police station or a new jail house, isn't that worth moving to you?

5/24/2006

Giulianna
Central High School of Philadelphia, PA
I think that taking someone's home to build something else is wrong. No amount of money will make up for the amount of time, love and memories spent in those homes.

5/24/2006

Jackie
Central High School of Philadelphia, PA
I totally agree with the power of eminent domain. This is one way the United States government can better our economy. Sometimes we have to give things up to better our America. I also feel as though you should be equally compensated for the thing you are giving up.

5/24/2006

daniel
Central High School of Philadelphia, PA
This issue with emminent domain is whether the individual who's property the city or state is trying to take away will give it up willingly. If the person agrees to take the money in exchange for their house or land then the city is more than welcome to possess the land. On the other hand, if a person has lived in their house for many years or just moved there and they don't want to give up their property the city should not force this law of eminent domain on them. Whether the person wants to stay there for sentimental reasons or personal reasons, no matter what the reason may be the person should not be hassled by the government about giving up the property.

5/24/2006

Renny R.
Central High School of Philadelphia, PA
I believe the government should have the right to use eminent domain because it is not as if they are moving people out of their homes on a daily basis. They would only use this power sparingly and with restraint. Also, the fact that they are moving people would only mean that they are trying to help the economy and bring in more jobs that might be desperately needed in the community.

5/24/2006

Breia
Central High School of Philadelphia, PA
I do not think that it is fair that the government can just tell someone that they have to move out of their home. I wouldn't care how much money you would be giving me, I would not move out of my house unless I was already planning to move. People's homes most often have sentimental value, and that is something that no money could buy.

5/24/2006

Delon L.
Central High School of Philadelphia, PA
Honestly I believe that if a person agrees to allow the government to take their property for a useful purpose, then they should. If the person disagrees with the taking of property, the government should not.

5/24/2006

Mike
Central High School of Philadelphia, PA
Although at times it may seem a little out of control, the U.S. eminent domain policy is sensible. If used to create helpful resources for the whole community this power should be accepted by every citizen as necessary. Sadly, not everything is perfect, especially in our government, and it may be off at times.

5/24/2006

Jaron
Central High School, Philadelphia, PA
I think that eminent domain is unfair because people put a lot of hard work and effort into the their homes and houses and for someone to just come and take that away is just a horrible thing to do. For example, my house was a fixer-upper and there was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that went into buying the house. So after all of that I would be very outraged if someone were to try to take my home especially when there are abandoned houses all over the city that are not being utilized for these 'Private Projects.'

5/24/2006

Katorah
Central High School, Philadelphia, PA
I don't think that it is fair for the government to take people's property through eminent domain because people work hard to buy homes and for the government to take it away is just unfair. Homes have values to them that just cannot be replaced by any amount of money.

5/24/2006

James
Central High School, Philadelphia, PA
I think that the fifth amendment is a power that gives the government too much authority. It is not right for the government to take away someone's home if they do not want to give it up. The amendment is out of date and should be reviewed.

5/24/2006

Rashan
Central High School of Philadelphia, PA
I think that the government should not be allowed to take the property of people who don't want to give it up; they should only be able to take the property of the people who are willing to sell.

5/24/2006

Amy
Central High School of Philadelphia, PA
I do not agree with eminenet domain. i do not think that people's property should be taken away from them for any reason. People work hard for the things they own, and they should be able to have those thngs whenever they want for however long they can support those things. For example, if an elderly couple is living in a house where the saw their children and their grandchildren and so on grow up, that to them is priceless and no amount of money from the government will be able to replace their memories.

5/24/2006

Justin S.
Central High School of Philadelphia, PA
I understand there may be frivilous reasons, like a shopping mall. I those cases, I don't think that one's home should be taken, even if it does produce more revenue for the city. To me that is saying that other people are more important than me.

5/24/2006

Alex
Central High School of Philadelphia, PA
I believe that government should not be able to take away people's property for the sake of economic development. It just isn't right. It's ok if the owner in question wants to sell their property, but you can't force anyone to leave; it isn't ethical. People have worked hard to get where they are and you just can't take away where they live. In addition, it takes time to find a new home and the tempeorary governmment housing provided is not up to par most of the time. It's not fair-- you cannot force hard-working Americans to leave when they don't want to. It is unconstitutional.

5/24/2006

Jessica S.
Central High School of Philadelphia, PA
I think that the government should have the right to take your home when it is for the direct service of the public. I don't think that an indirect service should count. If they had to take your property to build a highway in order to ease traffic congestion, then eminent domain should exist. But if they want to take your property to build a pharmaceutical company, I do not feel that is right.

5/24/2006

Matthew
Central High School of Philadelphia, PA
When someone owns a private piece of land, it should be up to the owner of that land to sell it away. The owner is the one who has fully paid for it and has the rights to it. Of course eminent domain doesn't leave you with nothing at all if your property must be taken forcefully, but there is still the issue of who has put the time and effort into that private property. After looking at these factors it is still hard to choose if it is right or not, but it really depends on the situation and the owner's opinion.

5/24/2006

sean
Central High School, Philadelphia, PA
I think that the government shouldn't be able to take people's homes and businesses away from them because some people worked hard their whole lives to get where they are. The home or business might have more sentimental value to the person than a monetary value and pressuring people to get rid of their memories just isn't right. I do however think the government should be able to take the land if it is being used in a beneficial way, a way that will really help the community. I only think this should be done as a last resort though if there is no other way to help the community.

5/24/2006

Susana
Central High School of Philadelphia, PA
In most cases I do not believe government should have the power to take people's property against their will. Unless it is an abandoned neighborhood where if you pay the remaining people who live there, they'd be better off than they were before, I don't think they should tell people that they have to move. Sometimes money is not always the issue. The home and community may have sentimental value. Money cannot substitute for memories and sentimental feelings. The government should ask instead of force and if the people don't want to take the money, the government shouldn't be able to force them to leave.

5/24/2006

Alyssa
Central High School, Philadelphia, PA
I think the government shouldn't be allowed to take one's property unless it is an extreme need for the land to help with the protection of the nation. I believe that in most cases lower income families are forced out and higher income families are brought in. Who is to say that one person's property rights should be more important than someone else's?

5/24/2006

Kara
Central High School, Philadelphia, PA
I think that the government does not have the right to take any amount of property or land without the owners' consent. Through eminent domain, people are displaced and forced to leave their homes or businesses. In the cases where these buildings and land are used for the public good, the government should search for other ways to construct necessary facilities. I think that the government should have to buy land or property the same way that anyone else does and should not be able to take whatever they wish.

5/24/2006

momed
Central High School of Philadelphia, PA
I do not think that the power of eminent domain is fair. To take someone out of their home and just hand them a certain amount of money for their property is not in any way fair. If my home, somewhere that I lived my whole life and a place where I have countless memories, was taken away, I would be outraged. No amount of money can replace these things and is in no way fair to the person who is being kicked out.

5/24/2006

Shenika B.
Central High School, Philadelphia, PA
I believe eminent domain is wrong in all aspects. There is no amount of money that can replace the sentimental value of someones home or property. The 'Kelo vs. City of New London' case used as an example in the article shows that it is wrong for the government to take anyone's property outright for the mere reason of replacing it with something that will generate more money for the city.

5/24/2006

Eugene Y.
Central High School of Philadelphia, PA
In the Kelo v. City of New London case, most of the residents gave up their property willingly; eminent domain had to be used to evict the few stubborn people who wouldn't agree. Handing land to private companies does stimulate economic development - who would work for the places that the private companies build? In any event, I feel that if people are evicted through eminent domain by the government, they should be paid an exaggerated price for their house, a little more than the house is worth, to compensate them for their time and effort in finding a new house. And if they can prove that the house belonged to their ancestors from two centuries ago or something, then that should also be factored into the compensation they receive.

5/24/2006

Alexis S.
Central High School, Philadelphia, PA
I believe that eminent domain needs to have a lot more restrictions. I do not think it is fair that at any moment a person can be forcibly removed from their home for any reason that the government may seem fit, especially to private developers. Houses may be just houses, but a home is something completely different. When a person is willing to call the place they live 'home,' then there is a lot of sentimental value in that. The government should not have the right to take it away from them for any reason. Some people may claim that it is good for the economy, and in some cases that may be so, but would you be willing to make that kind of sacrifice?

5/24/2006

Jennifer H.
Central High School of Philadelphia, PA
It is true that redevelopment is necessary at times but there are also other places that buildings can be placed. For instance, they can be built where there are already empty spaces or unused land. If taking property is to bulid an area up, such as building new homes where run-down ones were, those who lived in the old ones should be offered a chance at the new homes in that area. However, the government does have the right to take property if they feel it is necessary; it would be best though if they used land that is not already utilized first.

5/24/2006

Kevin D.
Stroudsburg Junior High, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Eminent Domain is a very simple idea. The government, when it is necessary, should be able to take property, even if it is against the will of those who currently hold the property. However, the powers of eminent domain should be limited. The government should only be able to claim property to construct public buildings, such as municipal buildings, education buildings, or safety buildings such as hospitals or police headquarters. Claiming land to build a strip mall is unacceptable. Also, if the land has been designated as a sanctuary or is a wildlife refuge of any kind, the land cannot be taken.

5/24/2006

Shelby G.
Stroudsburg Junior High School, Stroudsburg, PA
Even if the private company that the government is reselling the land to will generate economic interest in the area, it is still not okay for the government to repossess land that is privately owned. It displaces people who have been long time residents of an area so that, in some cases, new, more expensive homes and a few stores can be put in. This is ridiculous to evict people from their own homes in order to essentially make a profit for a private company, but also generating some interest in the area. Eminent domain seems like it is cheating people out of their land and property for the good of someone else's interests. It is one thing if the owners are willing to sell their land, but if the government cannot buy the land from a willing seller, it is unfair to take the land.

5/24/2006

Natalie E.
Stroudsburg Junior High School, Stroudsburg, PA
I think that the state should think about what is right for the people and how they are going to live their future. I think that it is wrong to take a family’s home away from them, unless there is a good reason. Where are those people going to live their lives and build their futures? I think that the families themselves should make the decision. After all, they bought that house and are the owners of it. They pay taxes and are good citizens. If those things were violated, then that would be a reason, but other than that it just shouldn’t happen. At least if the family cannot afford taxes, to put them in a shelter of some sort would be the logical thing to do.

5/22/2006

Ryan M.
Medina Valley High School, Castroville, Texas
I think when the United States Government uses the term 'power of eminent domain,' they might as well say 'legalized robbery.' Some people may think this is extreme, but not very long ago another term was used for almost the same purpose. This term was 'manifest destiny.' Although manifest destiny was used to slaughter Native Americans, steal their land, and destroy the natural habitat, many people believed it was their constitutional right. Now at the present, the power of 'eminent domain' is being used for roughly the same purpose. 'Eminent Domain' has been used to relocate families that have worked their whole lives for what they have and then are suddenly told to leave their homes and families.

4/7/2006

Angelica C.
Arts High School, Newark, Nj
i totally disagree with what the government is doing and how they are using the 5th amendment to cover it up and make it seem okay. The government and private companies work along with each other secretly, and since private companies don't have the power to force people out of their houses so that they can expand their business, these private companies pay the government to find a way to remove the long- time residents. I believe the system is so corrupt and every decision the government makes is for the well-being of companies' pockets not of the individual communities. Yeah, to a certain degree the new businesses do hlep out the city economically but i'm sure there is plenty of land available for these projects to be built so that residents don't have to be removed from their homes.

4/4/2006

Victoria
Rowlett High School, Rowlett
I don't think that the 5th amendment was created to take the civilians property for development of retial and private businesses. If the city or state needs the property to use tax dollars to improve the surroundings or create a highway, then it's more understandably, as long as the citizens are in the direct path. No family should lose their home because the city wants a strip mall. The price paid for the house should be adjusted for home improvements, not just the basic house on the current market.

3/31/2006

Joyce M
Arts High School, Newark
Personally all states should impose some control on government’s power to take people’s property against their will. I’m very aware that the fifth Amendment states that “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”. It seems like the government is taking over our lives. The Bill of Right suppose to protect all citizens of this county but if the government is taking our belongs then I think the Bill of Right is not protecting us at all. Somone needs to take another look at The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

3/31/2006

SARAR_B1
Garland high school, garland
What I think about this is that they should not take people's homes away from them.

3/31/2006

YeniG_B1
Garland High School, Garland Texas
In my opinion, The government should not be allowed to take people's homes away from them because people work hard to get a decent home for their family and even if the government is going to pay a "fair" price for that property, i think it is not fair.

3/31/2006

YeniG_B1
Garland High School, Garland Texas
In my opinion, The government should not be allowed to take people's homes away from them because people work hard to get a decent home for their family and even if the government is going to pay a "fair" price for that property, i think it is not fair.

3/31/2006

GabrielS_A2
Garland High, Garland
I think it would be ok to take people's property if they received a large compensation.

3/31/2006

terrence e.
Garland High School, Garland ,Texas
i don't think that the government has the right to take other people's property without their approval.

3/30/2006

stephine p
garland high school, garland
I believe that the government should not be able to take your home with out leting you get all that you can get from it.

3/29/2006

BrysanyC_B1
Garland High School, Garland TX
I don't think that the government should take people's homes away from them. What if they got their property taken from them-- they wouldn't like it. if they are paying all of the bills i think that they should be able to stay in their homes.

3/29/2006

mattd
garland,garland high
I think that it is stupid. Either way it is good for the people. One person looses their house and then a bunch of people gain a mall or stadium. Either way it bennifits the population. I think that it is unfair, but we don't have enough free land to build everything we want or need without building over houses. Legitimite needs would be a hospital or school or something that everyone needs. I would draw the line at a car lot or Taco Bell.

3/28/2006

Jardine
Trinity High School
My property has been previously taken by the government for oil. I agree with this resolution; if this is necessary for war or something, then it's fine, but if it's just for a community plan, then I dont like the idea.

3/28/2006

Dre
Springfield High School
I feel as if it is a good idea if the land will be used for new jobs or places that will help others. But it is not right to just take someone's land; you should allow them to have some type of say in it because that person is paying for that land and it belongs to them. What do You think?

3/28/2006

Brittany A.
Arts High School, Newark, Nj
In my opinion, I do not think that the government should have the power to take people's property away from them. Everyone has the right to property and that is stated within the Fourteenth Amendment. However, when people take advantage of this given right, there is a point where you must draw the line and finally take the property after consulting them.

3/27/2006

Bryan U.
Northeast High School, Philadelphia
As long as you receive compensation, and if what they're going to build will benefit the community it is built in, then I think it is right to use the power of eminent domain. If the community desperately needs a new school, then people should be willing to give up the land, take compensation, and move on with their lives. People seem to think only about their own needs and not about the needs of others. The line should be drawn when the only use for the land is strictly profit. If it is beneficial to society, then government should have the power of eminent domain.

3/20/2006

Nikita D.
Weequahic High School, Newark, NJ
The government has no right to take someone's property against their will. I say this because if that person is paying for that land and/or that land has been given to them by a family member, they have the right to keep that property. To my knowledge if there is something on that piece of land and if someone is paying for that piece of land the government has no right to touch that land. If the government has land taken from them I bet any amout of money that they will feel just as those that they have taken land from!

3/16/2006

Jeremy G
Amador Valley High School, Pleasanton, California
Fifth Amendment or not, the government should not have as much power to take land as they do at the moment. Eminent Domain is an outdated policy that has no place in modern times. I feel that the government has no real need for most of the property they can obtain through this. Paying a fair price for the land is also extremely vague. Does it mean fair for the land price and what it takes for the owner to move out and find space elsewhere? Perhaps it just means a fair price based on what the government plans to do with the land; it certainly needs clarifying. In the 1996 court case Kelo v. City of New London, land was taken by eminent domain but wasn’t used for public good, so Kelo ended up winning the case and helped further the general public’s knowledge of eminent domain. The technique is said to be 'a powerful economic development tool used sparingly that helps cities create jobs, grow business and strengthen neighborhoods' but in fact can disrupt as much as it helps. If a technique like this was used around the bay area it would be horrible as it is difficult to find a residence in the same price range as the government would pay for your house. Brandon P of Garland High School put it very well: it is just unfair to make someone move because someone decides it’s for the public good. Upwards of 40 states have legislation under consideration about this topic so it looks like it will be dealt with on the state level rather than the federal level.

3/16/2006

Heather K.
Northeast High School, Philadelphia PA
The idea of taking someone's home all matters under certain circumstances. The worst cases are those who pay their bills promptly, take care of their property, and are pleasant neighbors within their community, just to be removed and start their lives over again because of private companies without a choice. However, the growth and prosperity of a town is a positive aspect, especially to bring in revenue for businesses and new jobs for the people. It is a tough situation considering you have two different things to consider: a person's life and the growth of a community. Personally, I believe it depends more on the particular occurrence of eminent domain and how the person/family handles thier responsibility living in their home, how they feel about the compensation and moving in general.

3/16/2006

Danielle
Amador Valley High School, Pleasanton, California
Despite what is stated in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, I do not agree with the government's power to take people's property against their will. Eminent domain might have applied to our nation during a time when development was essential for the growth of our society, but today it should not be used. Undeveloped land and natural resources are very scarce in our nation, and I believe that land should not be taken over to develop. It is not often that you can look out and see fields or hillsides without houses or apartment complexes developed on them. I agree with Jeremy G where he states that 'Eminent Domain is an outdated policy that has no place in modern times,' and that the 'government has no real need for most of the property they can obtain through this.' In an article written by Dennis Cauchon of the USA Today, he found that many major corporations disagree with eminent domain as well. The article stated that 'Charlotte-based BB&T, the nation's ninth-largest bank, announced it would not lend money to developers who used eminent domain to acquire property, and the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp., a quasi-public agency headed by the governor, announced last month that it would no longer use eminent domain for economic development' I think the interaction of corporations in attempting to prevent eminent domain is essential to preserve and prevent government from taking over land.

3/12/2006

Grotegut_W
Amador Valley High School, Pleasanton, California
First off, I would like to say that I do think it is ok for the government to take someone's land in order to build something to benefit the public. However, I think there are some things that the government should do first before taking someone's land. First off, I think that they should ask the landlord's opinion before taking his/her land. This 'power of eminent domain' is used to freely. Not that the government uses it to build things such as night clubs, but it is someone's property you are taking away. So I think that if they don't want to give their property up then that is their choice. Again this is a good idea because it gives a chance for new jobs and economic growth, but I think that it is not more important than someone's property. Now if it is a revitalization of a downtown area and people don’t want to move, then don't make them. A rustic downtown is more appealing than a newer one. So basically it is a good idea for the government to grow economically and open new jobs, but I don't feel it is right for them to take away a house that a family is accustomed to living in.

3/8/2006

michelle s B1
Garland High School, Garland ,Texas
i think if the property is actually worth good money and you have owned it for more than 20 years, they should have no say in destroying it. But otherwise, they should just move on because they are probably doing it for a good cause.

3/7/2006

PortiaJ_A2
Garland High School, Garland,Tx
I do not think the government should take people's property, even buying it from them. If the owner said no then they shouldn't be able to take that away from them. Now they have to go and move somewhere else starting over on paying off another house note.

3/5/2006

McCary
Episcopal School of Dallas, Dallas, TX
I think that eminent domain is very important to maintain a successful economic and social society. If the government sees it fit that they should take away an idividual's property in order to make room for an establishment that could benefit the community, then they should. The question becomes "just how many people is this going to help?" I think that plans to build beneficial, public establishments, such as schools and hospitals, are legitimate grounds to to take away an individual's land and property. However, if the reason for the use of eminent domain is to tear down residential areas and build superfluous buildings, such as a shopping mall or a football stadium, my opinion shifts. If the new establishment fails to be of real, beneficial value to the whole community, then the government's right to take private property against the individual's should be cut.

3/3/2006

ViridianaV_a2
Garland High School, Garland, TX
Personaly i think government has the right to take people's homes for the purpose of bettering the community by private companies, if what is better for many people outweighs a couple of people who disagree with it.

3/2/2006

AdamK_A2
Garland High School, Garland, TX
I think it's just not right taking people's property against their will.

3/2/2006

Vosw_A2
Garland High School, Garland, TX
I think if they give you money for the property, it's cool. I would draw the line if they just start taking everone's property.

3/1/2006

JorgeD_B1
Garland High School, Garland Tx
I think that it's not fair for the people who have to move just because the government wants to build projects. It's not fair because there are people who have worked so hard to obtain a house in this country and tt's not very pleasant that all of the sudden that dream would vanish. However, if the government pays more of what the house costs it would be another thing.

3/1/2006

LaDarionJA_2
Garland High School, Garland, TX
I do not believe that the government should take away homes and displace families on account that private developers want to expand their empire. If the land is needed, and i stress the word, needed, then go right ahead. But the gov. should not have this right to displace families on account of private developers.

3/1/2006

Victor R.
Garland High School, Garland, TX
i think if the government wants to take the property of someone then they have to pay a lot of money to the people from whom they are taking the property away.

3/1/2006

ShandreaP_B1
Garland High School, Garland, TX
as long as the government is going to do something that benefits the community, they should have a right to take other people's property.

3/1/2006

KirstenK_A2
Garland High School, Garland, TX
I don't think that it is fair to be uprooted and have your life disturbed because some private developer thinks that where you happen to be living is a good spot for his business.

2/28/2006

Phallyn T_B1
Garland High School, Garland, TX
i think that the government has the right to eminent domain if they feel that the property can be used for something better for the community's benefits. The old eye-sore will just reduce the property values of the area.

2/28/2006

RyderI_B1
Garland High School, Garland, Tx
I think that the state's eminent domain policy should stay as-is. As long as the property is taken for the good of the community and people are reimbursed for their property loss, then nothing needs to change regarding this policy.

2/28/2006

brandon p
Garland High School, Garland, TX
i think that it is very wrong to just one day with the homeowners not expecting it just show and give the family a deadline to move out before the bulldozers start plowing in. it isn't right to make a family relocate to a different home. i think that it's a good idea money-wise but no one should take from another and make them throw away their whole life and start over-- it's just wrong!

2/28/2006

Ruben s
Garland High School, Garland, TX
I say if you paid for it, it is yours and nobody has the right to take it away from you!

2/28/2006

Esmeralda E-A2
Garland High School, Garland, TX
I think that it's not fair for the people who have to move just because the government want to build projects. It's not fair because there are people who have worked so hard to obtain a house in this country and It's not very pleasant that all of the sudden that dream would vanish. However, if the government pays more of what the house costs it would be another thing.

2/28/2006

PortiaJ_A2
Garland High School, Garland, TX
The government has no right to take people's houses even if they are paying for it. If the homeowners say no then the government shouldn't be able to take it or buy it off.

2/28/2006

NatalieP_A2
Garland High School, Garland
No, it is not a good reason because where is the line drawn? It seems as though the government can now take over small properties just because a corporation wants them to. Few individuals should be able to stand up for their rights to land. It should be agreed by the whole community that it is imposing on, and they should have another place where they can relocate. IF they want to buy, they should settle for nothing less than fair market value or the price of a house where they will relocate.

2/28/2006

Britt
Episcopal School of Dallas, Dallas, TX
The government usually offers to buy people's homes in order to benefit private companies rather than the public good. Private companies making a profit is hardly what I would call public good. Eminent domain is unconstitutional because not only are homes taken over for private gain rather than public good, but they are usually purchased for much less than their intrinsic value. Homeowners who are reluctant to move become even moreso when they have little compensation for their inconvenience. In the case of eminent domain, the costs outweigh the benefits.

2/28/2006

UzielR_A2
Garland High School, Garland, TX
Nothing in life is fair. People are going to complain no matter what the government does. Eminent domain is wrong, yet it also brings change and economic development. The greatest problem is to accept change.

2/28/2006

Marc J.
Northeast High, Philadelphia, PA
First you must consider WHY a person will not sell their property. There must be some sentimental involvement or reason as to why a person would not want to sell their property. The United States is a country built on freedoms and the government need to respect the people's freedom to have attachment to our properties. Just like how the U.S. fought and died for the property that is now known as the United States of America. We would not give up freedoms nor our land. The People of the United States should not have the opportunity to be stripped of their land by their own government.

2/27/2006

Montreal W_A2
Garland High School, Garland, TX
If the fifth amendment allows it, there is no argument for this being unconstitutional. I am not saying that everything legal or constitutional is absolutely right, but if the people are getting paid fairly, and no one is doing anything illegal to them, they should just accept it and move on.

2/27/2006

Mabelyn
Arts High School, Newark, NJ
The act of taking people's property against their will is absolutely violating the fourteenth amendment of life, liberty, and property. Consequently, I believe that it is unjust for a person to be deprived of their natural rights just to please the government and its actions towards the common good. There are limits to when a person thinks of acting in the favor of others over themselves. This is one instance because we are speaking of a person's property, their private possesions, which is something that should forever belong to them and never be taken away. This is where you draw the line because the government is the only one that should be responsible for redevelopment. The government should rely on other people's property to do something good for the community.

2/27/2006

Bennie W.
Arts High School, Newark, NJ
i think that the state has the right to eminent domain if they feel as though the property can be used for something better for the community.

2/27/2006

Chanelle Q.
Arts high school, Newark , NJ
I think whatever helps society and is being brought in to improve my city, I think propery can be taken against their will.

2/27/2006

Arcia S.
Arts High School, Newark, Nj
The state should have certain say when the government tries to take people's property.

2/27/2006

Jessica K.
Arts High, Newark, NJ
I think they should allow the people of the area to vote on whether they want to move. First, introduce the goverment's plans, then let them vote before telling them they have to move. Then let them vote again on whether they would move and let the majority vote win.

2/27/2006

MarielN_B1
Garland High School, Garland Tx.
I do agree with some part of this law. I go for the government taking property for other things, if it is only going to take one family to give other millions a job. I just don't agree with getting the money that tax assessors say your house is worth. I think that the government should pay exactly what your cost was originally and not what it is at the time.

2/27/2006

MacKenzie G.
Episcopal School of Dallas, Dallas, TX
The problem with eminent domain is the ambiguous language 'public good.' Since the fifth amendment does not clarify what is or isn't public good, it's only natural that governments would try to strech the definition to its limit. However, as a country based on majority rule WITH minority rights, eminent domain must be amended and clarified so that the rights of the small property-owners will be protected.

2/27/2006

KristinaB_B1
Garland HS, Garland, TX
I think we should first realize what the government considers beneficial for the community before we can judge if eminent domain is right or wrong. Right now in Arlington, Tx, people are being forced to leave their homes to make way for a new football stadium. I don't think this is important enough to move people out of their childhood homes.

2/27/2006

GabrielleJ_B1
Garland High School, Garland, TX
I think that taking over people's property is not a good decision, but if it is going to help millions of other people then it is alright. But I believe that they should at least pay what the owner paid for the house and maybe a little more because they are helping them to complete a project.

2/26/2006

BubbaS_A2
Garland High School, Garland, TX
I think that this is very difficult to talk about. If you own a home in a specific area and they are planning on building something on your lot then it is not fair. But to the rest of the citizens of that community, it is viewed as a great idea because it will draw attention to the specific location.

2/26/2006

AmandaS_A2
Garland High School, Garland, TX
I think they should find a way to move the houses and if so, then the government should pay for those costs.

2/26/2006

StacieP_a2
Garland High School, Garland, TX
if the property is being taken away for a legal reason or for the good of a community then yeah, that's fine, but not just because the developers want to do it.

2/26/2006

WilliamW_A2
Garland HS, Garland, TX
I believe that the government alone should be allowed to develop on seized land. Private companies rarely have the community in mind when developing--they're a bit more pre-occupied with keeping the share-holders happy.

2/26/2006

cedricW_a2
Garland high,Garland TX
I don't think the government should use their power to take the property of others.

2/25/2006

NhiH_B2
Garland High School, Garland, TX
I personally think that if taking people's property away helps the community then i have no problem with it. And if the government is paying money back then there should be no problem. It is a sad thing to leave your home but there's nothing we can do to stop that.

2/24/2006

Josh
South Garland High School, Garland, TX
If property is being taken for the actual public good, it is one thing, but if they're going to put a nail salon where my house was I'd be a little angry.

2/24/2006

m
South Garland High School
I'd be upset, but it is for a good cause at least, and they're paying me for the land.

2/24/2006

Phil G.
South Garland High School, Garland, TX
Should the government be taking proprety to help provide more companies etc.? No, in the fifth amendment it says without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.' If it says this in the fifth amendment and all of a sudden the government wants to kick out people and pay them a fair amount and some families don't want to go, they have the right to not leave due to the amendment. Unless we don't follow the amendment.

2/24/2006

Renee R.
South Garland High School, Garland, TX
I believe what the government is doing can be right at times but I feel for the citizens that have to give their homes up for what the government thinks is a fair amount. Those people put memories and hard work into their homes. There are so many places that it's hard to believe the government can't find a better place to put, for example, a school. They should take away the land of the people who have acres to give up.

2/24/2006

Del
South Garland High School, Garland, TX
I don't think that the government should be able to destroy people's homes and use the ground to build something else there because if the family has lived there most of their lives and they want keep the land and pass it down to their children, i think that they should have the right to do that.

2/24/2006

Nashae B.
South Garland High School, Garland, TX
I believe that the idea is crazy that the government can basically make you sell your home without you having a say. What type of government do we have if the government can overpower the will of the people? Even if the government believes that they can put the property to better use it still defeats the point that people have rights to their property.

2/24/2006

savannahG
South Garland High School, Garland, TX
I think that it’s sad that the government wants to make people's homes into public places. I mean people have lives and sentimental memories in those homes, and for them to want to just destroy it isn’t right.

2/24/2006

Todd W.
South Garland High School, Garland, Tx
Depending on the person and their personal views, some may think that eminent domain is wrong. As for me, I feel like if it's going to do the community good by bringing in more business and more money, and depending on the situation, bring up property value, then I say I'm all for it. As long as they pay the residents a fair amount for their land so they can find themselves another good quality home, and a little extra money after that, then go for it.

2/24/2006

Roger W.
South Garland High School, Garland, TX
Not everyone would agree that the government should be able to take citizens' property. People are living in houses that their parents may have owned and they have lived there all their lives. For them it would be hard to just all of a sudden move because they are building something that they say will benefit public use. Some people work hard for their homes and the government should not be able to take someone's personal property.

2/24/2006

Sara G.
South Garland High School, Garland, Tx.
I'm neutral on the issue of eminent domain. On one hand, I believe that if the project that is being built on private property will benefit the entire community, then I think it is ok for the government to take that private land. On the other hand, if I were put in the pssition of being forced to give up my home for, say, a new mall, I would probably be reluctant to give up my home. I mean, why should I give up my property so that teenagers have a new place to shop? So to sum it up, if the reason for taking the private property is legitimate and will help the entire community in the long run, then I think it is ok to take the land. However, if the reason for taking the land is just to build something that would be fun to have, but isn't really needed, then I think the government should back off and leave the people who live there alone.

2/24/2006

shireen
South Garland High School, Garland, TX
I agree if property is being taken for the actual public good.

2/23/2006

Kristi A.
Northeast High School, Philadelphia, PA
I don't think it's right that the government can take away your property for the simple reason that they want to build something else. If you pay your taxes and pay your bills, you should be able to live peacefully in your own home without the fear that the government will take your land and you'll have no say in the matter. People have a right to their property and they should be able to say no to the government. However, I don't see anything wrong with it if you agree to move and they pay for a better home for you, but for some reason I just don't see that happening.

2/23/2006

Amanda R_B2
Garland High School, Garland, TX
I think private companies shouldn't be allowed to take people's properties away for their own benfit. The people who live there might not be able to find another home and will have to live without one for awhile. They should draw the line especially when it comes down to a larger number of people losing their homes. Half of them don't even get paid the real worth of their homes.

2/22/2006

Judy C_B2
Garland High School (Garland, Texas)
i don't think they should be able to take people's homes away like that. i mean, who do they think they are really? yeah they're the government, but don't just go into their houses saying that they have to get out in 6 months.

2/21/2006

aylese A
Bodine High School, Philadelphia, PA
I do not think that it is fair that the government can take someone's property without their permission. I think that if someone paid all thier money to buy a property then it should be their own decision to sell the property if they want to.

2/21/2006

FransisB_B1
Garland HS, Garland,TX
The government shouldn't force poeple out of their homes. For one thing, it really isn't fair and second, the people have a right to say no if they don't want to sell or give up their land.

2/21/2006

SherrithaW_B1
Garland High School, Garland Tx
I don't think it's right for the government to move people out of their homes so they can have more room to build something else. Even though they do pay them some, people don't want to leave their homes for many different reasons.

2/21/2006

tiffanyg_b1
Garland High School, Garland, TX
i don't think that taking people's property is the way to do things. i think the whole new cowboys' stadium thing is not right because they are kicking people out of their homes to build this stadium.

2/20/2006

GISELA_B1
Garland High School, Garland, TX
The government should not be allowed to take a person’s land and home if the owner is not willing to sell his or her property. I think that the citizens should have the right to decide if they want to move out or not instead of getting kicked out of their own land and property.

2/19/2006

Taylor L.
Waynesboro Area High School Waynesboro, PA
I think that the government should be allowed to continue to use the power of the Eminent Domain to take property and revitalize it in a way that is more beneficial to the community. If they didn't use the power then there would be all these stubborn people who won't move out of their place. The new use of this property helps all aspects of the community, not just any one individual. House developers are making a good profit off these houses but they are giving people homes. If the land is not going to the developers then it is going to larger companies to have conference centers and whatnot. By doing this they are giving a lot of new jobs to the surrounding area. They are not abusing the power because they are not using it left and right, it is only used on occassion. My last detail is when the government uses the Power of Eminent Domain they are paying the owners the full listing price and not just as little as possible to get the job done.

2/17/2006

Jordan A
Episcopal School of Dallas, Dallas
The first problem inherent to the power of eminent domain is that when the government buys property it almost necessarily pays less than the true market value. Just compensation, some could say, does not exist, and, therefore, the power of eminent domain as the government implements at present is unconstitutional. I agree with Charly: The companies, if they want the property, should deal directly with the owners. Most people can be persuaded to leave their property for the right amount, although this may hinder development because of the greater expense. Revitalization and development, in my opinion, is very important. But it seems as if abuse of eminent domain can easily occur in the current situation. Big business with all its great political influence could possibly persuade government officials to take someone's land in return for something. And how would any of us feel if a government official notified us one day that we just had to leave our home? What if the home or property had been in the family for generations or what if home was worth no amount of money because of sentimental attachment? The power of eminent domain is riddled with issues. I would still have to say the cost of the power of eminent domain, in most cases, does not outweigh the benefits.

2/17/2006

Scott B
Episcopal School of Dallas, Dallas, TX
The individual is not as important as the greater good for the city. If the city takes 40 families' homes and provides 150 jobs, the eminent domain has been correctly used. The government should be allowed to use its own discretion when looking into the constitutionality of forcing the purchase of lands.

2/17/2006

Katie
Episcopal School of Dallas, Dallas, TX
Although the law states that the seizure of private property by the government is technically legal as long as there is proper compensation for the property, there are many issues which are not considered in the process. For example, locations cannot be compensated. Perhaps a person needs to walk to their job and, in their curent geographical location it is possible, but there are no equivalent locations [price and/or size] nearby. The law needs to have limitations so that the government does not abuse it's power. Any commercial buildings are allowed, not just schools or other community needs. Eminent domain laws promote big business and big government which infringes upon the emphasis on individual rights. The balance of power is tilted towards the federal government, taking away power from local governments.

2/16/2006

Andy V.
Episcopal School of Dallas, Dallas, TX
The government has no right to seize private property from people who are unwilling to sell it. Although using private property to the benefit of the public, for example, to build new schools, is a good idea, it should be unlawful for the government to force people to sell their property. The eminent domain clause of the Fifth Amendment tramples upon too many of the innate rights that people possess. Only through the full satisfaction and approval of people should the government have the right and therefore warrant the seizing of private property for the public good. The government should not only give fair prices and equal reparations to the people for the property and land but also guarantee the people that the land itself is going to be used for the overall benefit of the community and not just for the leisure of some private rich investor.

2/16/2006

Holly
Nimitz, Irving, TX
I do not believe that the government should use their power to take the property of others. Who decides if it is a benefit to the town? There is one exception in my opinion, only if the property is going to be used to expand a highways or roads. Reason being, this would help the traffic, and houses should not be very close to the roads. So for the property owners' price, I believe that would be okay.

2/16/2006

Charly
Episcopal School of Dallas, Dallas
If a private company needs land then it should be up to that company not the local goverments to try acquire the land. This way, the property owners are much more likely to get a fair price for their property. Also by leaving it between the developer and the members of that community it gives more influence to the community as to if they want the new development or not. If a local goverment thinks that a new development will be a good move for the community they can try to influence the community to sell, but not force. The only instance I think they should force someone to sell is if out of a number of properties there are one or two holdouts, after the private company has - without government help - bought all of the other land it needs for its development. By this time a fair property price will already be well established along with obvious local support for the development.

2/16/2006

Ben T.
Episcopal School of Dallas, Dallas, TX
Personally, I believe that the government shouldn't be able to seize private property from anyone unwilling to sell said property. Even if the development could benefit the town in the long run, it could possibly displace citizens. Everyone knows that the government's idea of fair prices and everyone else's idea of fair prices are different. What if the displaced are left without an adequate amount of money to reestablish themselves somewhere else? I'm against the government's ability to seize private property because of what it could do to the people.

2/16/2006

Lizzy S.
Episcopal School of Dallas, Dallas, TX
It seems that recently the government has use of the Fifth Amendment clause of eminent domain has been seriously misguided. The fact that private businesses are taking over where the government leaves off should show something. If it were truly in the city or town’s best interest to develop on these private properties, then it seems that the government would acknowledge this on their own terms. If the government continues to manage private lands by exercising the 'power of eminent domain' then what community will be left to appreciate these new developments?

2/16/2006

Gregory
Episcopal School of Dallas, Dallas, Texas
I believe that the government has no right to seize private property from people who do not want to sell it. James Madison said that the government should protect 'life, liberty, and property.' This phrase was changed in the Declaration of Independence, but the general idea that the protection of citizens' private property is of utmost importance still remains. This idea is vital to American government, and the government should respect the rights of property owners instead of trying to destroy those rights. This protection of personal property is one of the things that makes America unique and independent.

2/16/2006

Jenny
Episcopal School of Dallas, Dallas
It is not the right of the government to assume it knows the worth of property of any particular person. If someone does not want to give up their own property, their rights should be respected. The government should only be involved if there is a specific and crucial need for the seizing of property such as building a hospital or fire station. Otherwise it just looks like the government is being paid off to retrieve property for private companies.

2/15/2006

Will J
Episcopal School of Dallas, Dallas
The government should not have a right to eminent domain. When government seizes property through eminent domain they claim the property will be used for the public good. The public should be the one deciding whether the seizure is beneficial or not. And even if the land will be used for a beneficial cause, there is no possible way that the citizens stripped of their land will receive equal reparations from the government. The implied power of eminent domain in the Fifth Amendment impedes too much on the rights of the citizen and should only be exercised if it is unanimously agreed beneficial by the public.

2/15/2006

Chris L.
Parkland High School, Allentown, PA
The government should have no authority over the distribution of land to private developers. It is against the Constitution for the government to take property such as land without due prosess of law. How can these new projects be bringing anything more than more taxes for its residents?

2/15/2006

Brian L.
Parkland, Allentown, PA
Eminent domain is useful in only a select few situations and should be treated as such. Unless the land will be used for an obvious and significant public good-- building levees in a flood prone area for example-- land should not be seized. The Supreme Court's recent ruling on the use of eminent domain in Mass. is disgusting and Congress should give serious consideration to preventing the illegal seizure of private lands.

2/15/2006

Amanda
Parkland, Allentown, PA
I think we need to reassess the entire eminent domain issue. Let's try to reach a compromise. Make a presentation to the homeowners explaining the economic benefits of revitalization. If a majority of the residents still refuse to leave, find another location.

2/15/2006

Rachel
Parkland HS, Allentown PA
In accordance with our great nation's Constitution, the government should and must have limited ability to confiscate some property against an individual's will if it is indeed for the public good. However, each state must provide venues in which those who feel mistreated under the law can easily appeal these confiscations in order to ensure judicial fairness in this matter.

2/15/2006

Ameya V.
Parkland High School, Allentown, PA
Redevelopment is sometimes necessary, and revitalization can often provide benefits which outweigh the costs. However, private property owners should not lose their land, even with reimbursement, unless they voluntarily agree to do so. Revitalization is OK for public buildings such as schools, government centers, etc. because these are community buildings.

2/15/2006

Erin
Parkland High School Allentown, PA
I agree with the power government has to take away people's property. However, both conditions specifically stated in the Fifth Amendment must be met. As long as the person is paid fairly and the property will be used for the public good, the government is right in their actions. However, the government must ensure that private firms do not take advantage of the system and remove residents on grounds other than 'for the public good.'

2/15/2006

Daniel
Nimitz, Irving, TX
Why should someone have the power to take you out of your home? Is the reason of building facilities that are not needed a good enough excuse? I really don't think so. But that's just me.

2/15/2006

Holly M.
Episcopal School of Dallas, Dallas
I believe that only the government should be allowed to take people's property against their will, as the fifth amendment states. The private companies that believe their projects will benefit the town should have to accomodate their plans to those who do not wish to leave their property. The Declaration of Independence states property as an unalienable right, and the government should protect its citizens from private companies looking to increase their own wealth.

2/15/2006

Elisa B.
Episcopal School of Dallas, Dallas, TX
The concept of benefiting a town at the stake of an individuals’ home can be beneficial to all, but the government must create greater incentive for the individual. For example, not only should the individual be provided with money for their estate but also a new home with equal location to work, school and other general public areas. Also each individual should be granted a share in the project; after all, the property was once theirs.

2/15/2006

Caitlin
Nimitz, Irving, TX
I understand that redevelopment of certain areas may bring about economic growth, however, taking people's property through eminent domain is wrong. Many pieces of land in question may be of sentimental value to the owners.

2/15/2006

Gregory
Episcopal School of Dallas: Dallas, Texas
James Madison said that government should be exercised for the benefit of the people. Madison also said that government should protect life, liberty, and 'the right of acquiring and using property' for the people of the United States. Although this phrase was changed to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independance, Madison's original statement is still very important. Eminent domain goes against the right of individual citizens to have their property protected. The government should not be able to force citizens off of their property, regardless of the societal benefits.

2/15/2006

Nishita
Parkland High School, Allentown, PA
I think that certain guidlines should be strictly met before a private company decides to take a person's property: 1) it must provide tangible proof of public benefit, 2) it does not hurt the previous owner in any way, and 3)it follows the fifth amendment by paying the owner and actually using the land honestly as it was intended.

2/15/2006

Ankita
Parkland High School, Allentown, PA
If it's an economic issue, then a cost-benefit analysis should definitley be considered. If the benefits of economic growth to society are greater than the costs of displacing people, then the government has a greater authority of confiscating the land on grounds of it being for the public good.

2/15/2006

Ronnie T
Episcopal School of Dallas, Dallas, TX
I don't believe that eminent domain gives enough benefits to those who are having their property seized. Reimbursing with cash seems reasonable but maybe those who are displaced could be offered some sort of stock or share of the projects that would be used in their property. Because properties seized by eminent domain are usually very low in value, relocating usually costs much more than what the property owners can afford. If more benefits were offered, relocation would be easier on those who had to move. Overall, the power of eminent domain is perfectly reasonable if provisions of the Amendment are met.

2/14/2006

David V.
Nimitz, Irving, TX
I agree that redevelopment is appropriate if and only if it is to better a selected area. But I certainly do not agree with the government taking away our property against our will. It would definitely sway the ideas if we heard opinions submitted by citizens with experience with this issue.

2/14/2006

Stefania G
Northeast High School, Philadelphia, PA
I totally disagree with the government having any control AT ALL over your property. If you are living somewhere where you are paying taxes, and bills, and everrything that you should be paying, then NO ONE has the right to take you out of YOUR house for any reason like 'redevelopment.' If a private company wants to build anything at all, then they should find a way to deal with their problems without damaging the life of someone else. To me, taking anyone's house away from them is a damage to the family and everyone who has to move out of their property just because some wealthy company decided that they landscape to build some company.

2/14/2006

Leah G.
Waynesboro Area High School-Waynesboro, PA
I do not think that it is right for the government to be able to take someone's house and property away from them. Redevelopment isn't a good enough reason to do such a thing if the person has been keeping up with their bills on their houses, property and their taxes. We have to think about how we would feel if this sort of thing happened to us or our families and the things that they would have to go through for everything to be normal again. I know that i wouldn't care for it that much. The government just needs to find an unoccupied piece of land to build the things that they need to build.

2/14/2006

Caroline
Episcopal School of Dallas, Texas
I definitely think it is wrong for the government to take away people's property against their will. Even if the property owners are compensated with money, it is hypocritical for the government to bully citizens into giving up their land for a private business project, even if it is 'for the good of the community.' If someone is willing to sell their land that's great. Otherwise the government has no right to take away land that is rightfully someone else's.

2/14/2006

Kittrell B.
Episcopal School of Dallas, Dallas TX
I believe that the government should not have the power to take ANY property, land or any other kind, without due process of law. I do agree, however, that local and state agencies should do as much as they can to keep public facilities, buildings, and developments in prime condition. Should corporations or private companies want to take land, they should not lobby or beg the government to do it for them. They should make a reasonable and logical deal with the owners in exchange for their land as a prime investment.

2/13/2006

Max
Episcopal School of Dallas, TX
Texas should restrict our government's power to take our property (against our will) by weighing the government's need for that land. Because the fifth Amendment states that private property could be taken for public use only after just compensation, I propose a city council meeting with those affected by the government's power of eminent domain, to vote whether the compensation is just or not.

2/13/2006

EderT
Garland High School, Garland, TX
i think it is right as long as they pay the people what is fair or that they find them another home.

2/13/2006

Lanae J (F4)
Northeast High School, Philadelphia, PA
I feel as though this is just wrong. There is no way possible I could ever see myself agreeing to this. The government shouldn't have any power over controling someone else's ability to live where they want to live. Right now they don't even give people an option of whether or not they want to move....they demand them. That's not fair, I don't think they take the time out to realize that this is someone's house they are taking away; it's not that easy to move into another house like everything is okay. A house can hold a lot of memories and other things that you can't take along with you. I feel as though if the government is going to try and take some kind of control over someone else's house at least give them an option and not just demand them to evacuate their premises and immediately move into another house. That's not Fair.

2/12/2006

MichaelB_B1
Garland HS- Garland,TX
I believe that providing more jobs at the expense of a few homes is a great idea, but these homes should be paid for at higher prices than the price the tax rolls indicate.

2/12/2006

Nadezhda N (F4)
Northeast High School, Philadelphia
Personally, I think that eminent domain is wrong. We can judge it from two sides of view. From one side I can say that, if the government needs to build businesses and roads for the common good, and they are going to pay the fair price, then it is fine. But, if it's against the will of people, because it is their property, no one should take it and use it as their own. We have the right to say yes or no to the government, and the government should not have that much power to take our homes against our will.

2/12/2006

Dana B
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I don't think the government should be able to take a person's property in order to expand a certain company, or anything of the sort. Every person works hard for what they have, and I know that I would be very upset if I had to move out of my home, find another place to live, and practicaly start over just because a company wants to expand. It's just not right under any circumstance.

2/12/2006

JorgeD_B1
Garland High School, Garland, TX
I don't think that the government should be allowed to take property from people. I wouldn't want someone to take my home to build something like a shopping center or anything like that in place of it. This country wasn't built so Americans could have their property taken against their WILL.

2/11/2006

Casey
Episcopal School of Dallas, TX
I believe that it is unacceptable for the government to take a person's private property and give it to another private party, no matter the level of 'economic development' the project would supposedly bring to the community. It is justified for eminent domain to be used to build a building such as a school, hospital, library, or courthouse that would benefit the entire community; but the 5th Amendment should not be used as a means to facilitate a business-government union. A sale should be something that is negotiated between two parties; the party with more money should not have the option to involve the government to bully a private owner into selling.

2/10/2006

Eric A.
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
The only time I think it would be ok for someone to seize someone else's property is if the safety of people is at risk. Otherwise, what's mine is mine and what yours is yours.

2/10/2006

Jeremy L.
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
My grandparents were kicked out of their house recently because of eminent domain. It seemed really unfair that a couple of senior citizens were kicked out of their house that they had lived in for decades because a corporation wanted to expand.

2/10/2006

Cassandra
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
Personally, I don't think that the government should be allowed to take property from people. It's just not right. I wouldn't want someone to take my home to build something like a shopping center or anything like that in place of it. There are plenty of places that are empty that the government can take and turn into whatever they please. Your home is your domain, and the government shouldn't have the right to do that.

2/10/2006

Kaysian
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
This country wasn't built so Americans could have THEIR property taken against their WILL. Isn't that contradictory to what America's foundation was built on? Barging in on someone's house and revoking it away from them is not only wrong, but it is also contradictory to the purpose this amendment is stating. 'Public good?' Does the solution to that really mean taking AWAY from the public?

2/10/2006

Jordan
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I think that eminent domain is just another way for the government to push around the little guy. It's not like they just take the land and all is good; they are also taking your home and your place of comfort. I am sure that the big companies don't really need the land. I think it is more the idea that if we can, we will. So because they can take the land they will take the land.

2/10/2006

Rachael
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
Aaron, I agree with your point of view. I think that it is wrong for the government to take anyone's property if they are paying to stay there or have paid to live in their home. What some of the people who agree with eminent domain don't understand is that it could happen to them as well. I think that if you have the means to keep your home, then the government has no right to take that away from you!

2/10/2006

Matt
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I wonder where this will stop. Will they continue to take homes, businesses, or even places of worship or will they start setting limits to their power to seize properties that rightfully belong to the owner of the land. This doesn't just happen to everyday joes like you and me. It can even happen to Supreme Court judges like the case in Mass.

2/10/2006

Connie K.
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
If the goverment needs to take property, it has to benefit the public. The public should also be in agreement with it. Private corporations, such as factories, are not a legitimate reason to seize someone's property. Private corporations are only benefiting themselves when taking someone's home. If people are in disagreement and are happy where they are, they should be able to stay put.

2/10/2006

Nicole
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I do not agree with the government at all. I think the idea of taking someone's home or private property is wrong, especially if it was legally paid for. I don't think the government would like it if they had one of their buildings taken away from them. Not to mention that if developers add a mall or something traffic might be worse in some areas and that isn't good for the ozone or the environment. The government thinks they are helping, but they really aren't. They are just going to add to the many problems with the environment we have. Plus it's someone's home. All of the memories they have will be at that area. It's wrong!

2/10/2006

Frank
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
No one should have their home taken just because corporations "need"/want more room to expand.

2/10/2006

Chris
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I heard that this law was made for war times. It was so the government could take your property to make temporary hospitals. A worthy cause but to use it just to uproot people in the name of economy, is just wrong. What will happen to the people living there? Shouldn't people not be afraid that their homes could be taken?

2/10/2006

Carissa
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I think that the government should NOT be allowed to take anyone's property without not only the owners', but the citizens' around the properties, permission that could be affected by the project.

2/10/2006

Samantha
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I don't think that taking someone's property should be allowed. The government doesn't know if what is being built will even be successful. The project would have been pointless and someone's property would have been taken away from them.

2/10/2006

Travis B
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I think that the government shouldn't be able to take anyone's property. If I bought my home and the government wants to take it, then I will not give them my home. Now maybe I would sell them my home for more than it's worth, but if they will not give me more than I paid, then they won't get it. I bought my home, and it's my property; no one can take it from me, not even the government.

2/10/2006

Amanda H
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I believe the government shouldn't be able to take away people's houses for businesses and corporations to replace them. I'm sure some of the individuals whose homes are being torn down have been living there for a long time. How does the government know for sure that by doing such a thing, the town or area will benefit from it? If businesses can take over private housing, shouldn't you be able to force a business to move elsewhere so you can build a house? M&M Mars is expanding their factory in our town and because of this, some residents have been forced out of their homes, due to their need for a street. What happens next? Will they start taking our possessions away?

2/10/2006

Jon
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
Part of me says that the government should not be able to take property from anyone. BUT...on the other hand, in my community there is a central big business that needs more space or they will leave. They are a major support to the community, and if they leave the area, a lot of the funds that the area uses to operate will go with them. I believe that if claiming eminent domain is truly going to do good for the community and those that will be displaced will get fair funds for their property, that it is OK.

2/10/2006

Bethany
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I don't think that it is fair; someone should not just have to give up their home because someone else decides that they want that property. If something is going to be built that will better the community, then an open space should be found for that project; someone's house and property should not be taken away against their will.

2/10/2006

Amanda E.
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
Eminent domain is a very sensitive topic to discuss. It has its pros and cons. It doesn't matter whether a local government takes people's properties or not - there's always going to be constant conflict of private property vs. revitalization and community growth. I feel that eminent domain is a good thing, but if and only if the citizens whose property is being seized are offered a new house to reside in. It's not fair to take somebody's property and then not present them with a new place to reside in. It is important for growth in a community, but only if residents of the community are also happy and in agreement with the developments.

2/10/2006

Emerald K
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I don't think it's right for the government to take someone's home away just because they want to use the land to build something else over it. If they really needed to take a home away, why don't they take a home that's rundown or one that someone doesn't live in already. It's just wrong to take a person's home away, especially if they have lived in that same house for years and years, and what if those people don't have another place to go? I wish the government would consider these things before they act.

2/10/2006

Megan S.
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
It is definitely not right at all! Personally, I cannot think of one reason why it would be fair for someone to lose their home or property that they paid for. If the community is in need of a place that bad in order for it to be 'made better,' then the government needs to find a place to put it where they're not taking something that isn't theirs!

2/10/2006

Don B
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
The government has no right to take anything of mine, even if it is for the public good. Although a difficult topic to discuss, no matter what the decision is someone will be upset. If they need me to move, I will need to receive an efficient amount of money that will make me change my mind. If I am happy with what I have, then don't come to my front door asking me to give something up, unless it is somehow illegal.

2/10/2006

Andrew
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
The government doesn't have the right to take someone's property. It's their home; they shouldn't be told to leave their homes. They decide themselves what they want to do with their property.

2/10/2006

Briana
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
The government should not able to take away someone's personal property. Someone's house could hold more value to someone than the property's actual worth. A person's home has great sentimental value, especially if one has lived there for numerous years. Losing one's home might force the individual to have to find a new job, or school, and would change someone's entire life. This situation has occurred in my hometown, and the older residents of one house have argued against the destruction of their house because they have lived there so long and would like to spend the rest of their lives there.

2/10/2006

Kerri D.
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I don't think that the government should get involved with private companies' matters. If a private company wants a private land owner's property, they need to negotiate a price with the land owner or offer new property elsewhere that is equal or greater value of the land/house being taken. If the private company wants the land that badly, they will find the means to convince the land owner to trade or sell. The government shouldn't have the power to force a private land owner off their property for the benefit of a private company owner.

2/10/2006

Tori R.
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I understand how people feel it's wrong for government to take your home for companies to expand and build. I believe that if they are doing it for the good of the community, it should be allowed to happen. For instance, here in Elizabethtown, Master Food Corp. is expanding and was given a street on which many people lived. Allowing Master Foods Corp. to have this street will help Elizabethtown greatly. Elizabethtown isn't much without this chocolate factory.

2/10/2006

Heath
South Garland High School, Garland Tx
It is wrong to take away people's things if they don't want them taken away. The government could be taking away a house that someone's family has lived in for several generations. The Earth is a big place; if the government can't find an empty lot to build their stuff on, then it should not be our problem. Forcing someone to leave their house, even with payment, is not only wrong, but can take away one's pursuit of happiness.

2/10/2006

Lindsey G
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I do not agree with eminent domain. I believe it is unfair for the government to just be able to take someone's property for their use and at their will. Even though the government does provide an equal compensation for the land they are receiving, it is unfair for the families to have to deal with this inconvenience.

2/10/2006

Craig N
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
There should be no reason that the government should be able to take land that you own. If you own it, it should be your choice.

2/10/2006

Cody N.
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I don't believe that the government should be able to take someone's property without a truly reasonable cause. I would say that if such a case happens, that maybe the town should have a vote for or against the idea, and then the owner of the property and the person looking to take the land could negotiate from there on.

2/10/2006

Leah C
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
The government should not be able to force anyone to give up their home and land for the advancement of industry.

2/10/2006

Nate E
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
If you're dealing with a public road or federal building, I think the government should have the right to eminent domain. These are projects that are made for the people and should not be stopped. I do not think eminent domain should be allowed for corporate motives however. While it may create jobs, it is still a private company that should not have the right to take a private home. Corporations need to plan around private homes and should not be allowed to receive eminent domain aid from the government.

2/10/2006

Chris R
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I believe what they're doing is good to help stimulate the economy, but the owners of the property should be paid more then what their house and property is worth. Possibly paid double for what everything is worth because you can't take into account the personal value of someone's property.

2/10/2006

Misty S.
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I think that they should not be able to take people's property because if they are building a development where a farm that produced food for the community used to be, they would be taking away from the community instead of adding to it.

2/10/2006

B
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
The individual is not as important as the entire society. Therefore, it is the indidual's duty to give up private property to the government in order to promote the local economy. This should only happen if the property is seized for a legitimate company that will benefit the local area by means of economic growth and job creation. These are both more important than an individual's property.

2/10/2006

Cori H.
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
No property should be taken unwillingly. It is their property; they should have a stand in the decision. If the property is taken, it should have a legitimate purpose. It actually should benefit the public and not just the company.

2/10/2006

Shannon C
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I feel that the government should not be able to take property from anyone. If the reason is good and will give the community a positive result, then they can only if the property owner agrees! If it's a reason like building a new developement, then no because the towns will become overpopulated and that can cause many problems.

2/10/2006

Brooks G.
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
The sacrifice by some to better the community as a whole is a sacrifice that most aren't willing to make. In a perfect world, it would work out wonderfully, however, if the needs of the community go beyond that of government needs and transfer to those of the big business, then that is where the line is crossed. Citizens and their homes have a more sentimental value than just the "fair market value." Corporate America finds loopholes around everything else, so how hard is it for them to find land to expand that isn't occupied by a family?

2/10/2006

Katrina Z
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
The power of eminent domain is ridiculous! The government should not have this power! Who are they to decide what is best for some town they may never even have seen? There is NO legitimate reason to take someone's property! A line does not need to be drawn because this should not be done at all!

2/10/2006

Ashley B
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I say no the government can't take homes from people to give to new developments because the people worked hard to own their homes and the government just can't take that away. I don't think that is right.

2/10/2006

Charlanne M
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I don't think that the government should be allowed to take people's property. Some people spend their entire lives to pay for what they have, and it's not right for the government to come in and just take it away, even if it serves the public good. There is land all around that the government can use to build developments. Why should they take someone's personal land/home?

2/10/2006

Megan N
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I do not believe that the goverment should be allowed to take someone's house and build a corporation where it used to be. The owner should be allowed to decide if the goverment can take it or not.

2/10/2006

Amanda G
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
The power of eminent domain should have a set limit. If taking people's property has a more positive effect on the community, then it is acceptable. However, if the construction of a new building causes more harm to the community or is not necessary, then the project should not take place where others already reside and have established good lives. Eminent domain could be good if it would supply the community with job opportunities. But the government should try to limit the areas so that it's not taking from people who may not have anywhere else to go.

2/10/2006

Leah C
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
The government should not be able to force anyone to give up their home and land for the advancement of industry. The government should present their case to the land owners, and then they can decide if they want to comply. If they do agree, they should be compensated for more than it's worth.

2/10/2006

G-rant
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
Government should not be able to take ground for any reason. The residents should be asked about their land being taken, and, to do it democratically, take a vote. See if the general public thinks that the ground being seized for something new is a good thing. The local M&M Mars (chocolate maker) is expanding. They are taking over some streets and the houses on those streets. The people who live there now are being moved. If Mars would just build a new parking lot for their trucks down the road a few hundred feet, then the truck lot now could be used for the building expansion.

2/10/2006

Kim W
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown
I do not think that the government should be able to take someone's property from them. Many memories are made in homes, and if you take someone's home from them, you are taking so many memories. When the government takes someone's property from them, they leave the people with no place to go. Sometimes the government takes homes and sometimes the government just takes land. Think about it. If the government takes the land from a farmer, people may think that it is no big deal - it is just a field. Think about it. That field is used to help feed you. There are crops that come out of that field. The farmer makes money off of the field and the crops. I think that eminent domain is ridiculous. Thank you.

2/10/2006

Janelle G
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I do not think the government should be able to force people to move out of their houses. If a business needs more area to expand, they should move and find more area. I am sure there is room for the business to expand somewhere else.

2/10/2006

Katie M
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
You can't always put a price on someone's house. No one would willingly give up a place they call home, so how can you expect others to do so? It is wrong for government to take someone's property against their will.

2/10/2006

Laura H
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
For the most part, I don't like the idea of eminent domain, but I think it is necesary in some rare cases. If the power is abused, it will actually cause more people to move out of the local area than just the ones being removed, and people may choose not to move into the area because of this problem. If a community is completely dying, however, and the need for more businesses arises without the room to build them, eminent domain is sometimes inevitable.

2/10/2006

Emily F
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
The government should not be able to force people out of their homes in order to redevelop. Although the government pays the people properly, it is not fair to the homeowner. They worked hard to buy their house, and it should not be taken away.

2/10/2006

amber b
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
If you don't have enough money to keep up with your property payments, the government should have every right to take away your property. This would benefit the community by eliminating those who cannot fulfill responsibility of ownership.

2/10/2006

Kelly Mc.
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I would never agree to a policy that takes citizens' homes without their consent. A person has a right to have a say in the demolition of their own home. I would be extremely upset if this happened to me with my home. It's not fair.

2/10/2006

Kirsten G.
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
No matter what one may argue in favor of eminent domian, the simple fact is homeowners were there first. They do not deserve to be forced out of their homes by money-hungry land developers. If you own a home, chances are you've worked very hard to attain it, and it is yours, not the government's.

2/10/2006

Nicholas Z
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
Eminent domain must only be used as a last resort if a property lies in the path of a major redevelopment project, and then only if the local standard of living will rise. I've seen what eminent domain can do and when it's been properly and improperly used. In the case of the latter there was much public backlash.

2/10/2006

Kelsey
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
My grandparents live in Tioga County, in the middle of nowhere. Recently, their property was seized by the government so a bypass could be built. They're tearing down trees and ruining the land just for a stupid bypass. And my grandparents were given very little money, which did not take the place of the damage being done.

2/10/2006

Tyler T.
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
The government has the right to take property if it benefits the public. Even if a private person also benefits as long as the majority of the benefactors are the public, then power of eminent domain is constitutional, such as producing jobs or bringing in income for the town.

2/10/2006

Courtney G
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
To some extent eminent domain is acceptable for purposes that will benefit the community without a doubt such as schools or business that all are in favor of. However when the government is taking property for small business that can be built somewhere else or for developments that are unnecessary, it seems like added conflict that could be avoided. The government should be wise in which circumstances they choose to use eminent domain.

2/10/2006

Kimberly F.
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
Eminent domain is a hard concept to agree with, however it does provide prosperity for the community in most cases. Therefore, it is critical to only use eminent domain when absolutely needed. When utilized by private business owners or land developers, the action is likely to become unjust.

2/10/2006

Rose F.
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I'm not sure that redevelopement is a good enough reason for the government to take property. It seems un-constitutional that a business that has worked so hard to stay where they are should have their property taken away just because another more elite business has come into town. Although eminent domain may help to benefit the economic growth of a town, the only way to be publicly helpful is to be sure that the public approves of the new developement.

2/10/2006

Brigit D.
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
The government does not have the authority to take land from any private entity and give to another. This violates the basic right to own property. A building, like a public school that will benefit the public good, is the only instance that eminent domain should be used. A person should be given the choice whether or not to sell their own property. The 'American Dream' is that a person can own and improve their own piece of land or their own business, and eminent domain undermines that whole idea.

2/10/2006

Kery
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
Eminent domain should not be allowed to take a person's land. Land is private property; the goverment does not have the right to take it away.

2/10/2006

S
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
The fifth amendment makes it clear that as long as the government is enforcing eminent domain to better the public good then it is not unconstitutional. Even if the government is selling the property to a private owner, as long as this private owner uses the land to better serve the public the fifth amendment is not being broken. It is true that taking away people's homes and businesses is an extremely harsh way of improving the public's well being, however with the government paying them the fair market value, it is not too high a price to pay. When eminent domain is enforced, the land is usually used to provide jobs and businesses that better the community. By relocating a few residents the community can provide better security for its citizens. Using eminent domain to sell the land back to a private owner coincides with the fifth amendment completely as long as the private owner fulfills its duty of giving back to the community.

2/10/2006

Steve M.
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
So long as the government has good intentions, I don't see anything wrong, so long as a majority of the people who live on the property agree to leave. Of course, I wouldn't leave without the cost of my property being repaid.

2/10/2006

Edward H
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
Eminent domain, when actually used for the public good, can greatly benefit a community by providing new jobs and opportunities. However, I do not agree with the government giving property to businesses for illegitimate reasons. The bigger and richer companies should not take precedence over the small companies solely for financial gain and because they claim it will help the community.

2/10/2006

Emerald C.
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
The Constitution clearly states that the power of eminent domain is meant to take property for the public good. If a private developer also happens to benefit from this, then so be it. As a result of private developers building projects on this land, the town will then benefit as well. However, because the land owners have to give up their property to the government even if they don't want to, they should be able to choose what should happen if a private developer wants the land. No developer should have the power of the government.

2/10/2006

Pam C
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I do not believe that it is right for the government to take people's property against their will. If all the people whose land is wanted agree to their land being bought, then yes eminent domain is a completely acceptable. However, if even one person does not agree, then the government must deal with what land they were able to get. If the government was to take away property from the unwilling, it would go against the constitution. So yes, even if only one person disagrees, plans need to be stopped or changed.

2/10/2006

Jessica H
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I think that it is unfair for the government to be allowed to take a person's property for the greater good. For those who do support this law, they should consider how they would feel if it was their home that was being sold without their consent. How is anyone supposed to feel secure with the threat of losing their home is looming over them? If a piece of land that the government wants is being occupied by a house or a business, then the government should be restricted from 'buying' it. However if the land that the government wants is vacant, then the government should have to pay the owner a reasonable price.

2/10/2006

Jon B
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
Private property was important to the forefathers of our nation when they formed the constitution. That is why the right to 'freedom of speech' includes symbols that could be worn on shirts. That's why we were a nation built on capitalism and the 'American Dream' of entreprenuership, and also why our government requires warrants for arrest. America was created on a respect for privacy. That includes private property. If there is an absolute necessity to take property, such as for the public safety (say there is nuclear pollution or unsanitary conditions that threaten others), the 5th Amendment comes into play and allows the government that privilege. However, despite the Supreme Court ruling, that right should not be used to aid developers and private interests. Even if it does 'aid' the community in the sense of a park and possibly economic stimulation, it overlooks the intent of the 5th amendment and the respect for privacy that saturates American culture.

2/10/2006

Katie G.
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
I feel that eminent domain is unjust. America was created by people claiming land to build a future for themselves. By taking their land, we are demonstrating that government decides how our lives should be and where we can and can't live. Justifing eminent domain is similar to justifing the tragedy of the Trail of Tears. As we forced the Native Americans out of their home, so are we forcing the new occupants from their homes - 'for the greater good of the public.' What happened to those Native Americans was in no way a noble or justifiable action and neither is forcing people today into giving up their homes. I also feel that a fair price for property cannot be decided by the government. Price doesn't replace sentiment or the cost of rebuilding what is lost.

2/10/2006

Lynndon G.
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
The basic concept of eminent domain serves a noble purpose, to help the public. However, included in that public are homeowners, many of whom do not desire to surrender their properties for any amount of money. In using eminent domain, the government is obtruding upon the investments put into the American economy by homeowners. Eminent domain therefore not only hurts members of the public under the claim that it is actually assisting the public, but it also undermines people's willingness to invest and do business in America. Eminent domain should be used with the greatest caution in order to preserve the successful, capitalistic, governmental interference-free interference basis of the American economy and to preserve individuals' independence from the government.

2/10/2006

David S
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
There are two ways to look at eminent domain. First, there's the view that you as a citizen own your land as a God-given right and no one should be able to take your land without your willingness to comply. The conflicting view of course is that the govenment of the United States really owns all the land, so they can do what they want when they want, how they want, and you as a landowning citizen have nothing to say on the subject. The first view may stifle business expansion and public works projects. After all, what happens if someone wants doesn't want to sell? The second view, of course, is much more socialist; it's the govenment's land, and they can do what they wish with it. As Americans, we have always been a nation of the individual. This should be carried over in our eminent domain laws as well. In short, a landowner should never, under any circumstances, be forced to give up his land by the government. So what if it's for the common good? America is about the individual. If the landowner believes enough in the project, they will give up their land willingly. It's wrong to remove someone from their property that they bought from their hard work and earnings. Some argue that if a municipality can't take land, no new projects will get done. Why not, in the words of the Godfather, make the landowners 'an offer they can't refuse?' In the long run, no eminent domain is the right solution for America.

2/10/2006

Kris H
Elizabethtown Area High School, Elizabethtown PA
Have you ever read, not seen, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?' Arthur Dent's home is demolished for a byway. Meanwhile, Earth is being demolished for an intergalactic byway. This is a fictional version of eminent domain, but without monetary compensation. Would the dough have made the deed easier to do? Doubt it. Eminent Domain is a quality idea, with a lacking follow-through. Though I really disagree with the government seizing property, I really agree that what serves the public good serves the individual good. The middle ground, the grey area, if an occupant is willing, if the land/structure is desolate, or if the occupant can be convinced of the seizings, then eminent domain is applicable. Economic developement does not count, under any circumstance.

2/9/2006

Aaron401
Simon Gratz, Philaelphia, PA
I don't think the government should be able to take anyone's property against their will. I know I wouln't want someone taking my property that I paid for, especially if I'm happy and comfortable where i am at. It's just wrong.

2/9/2006

Ryan
Episcopal School of Dallas, Dallas, TX
If the government is going to take property, it should make sure that this action really serves the public good. Recently, several small businesses near my house lost their property rights to a housing contractor that claimed eminent domain to gain the property. But almost no one in the neighborhood wanted this to happen. It was, in fact, a disservice to the public good. All too often, eminent domain is used to benefit the elite at the expense of the many.

Related News
11/17/2005
Opinion: Private property, no trespassing
The Tribune-Democrat

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