Skip to comments.Donald Trump and Eminent Domain [Revisiting Trump's support of the Supreme Court's Kelo decision]
Posted on 08/09/2015 7:15:46 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
In a free market, theres a pretty simple process for dealing with the situation that arises when one person covets anothers belongings: The coveter makes an offer to purchase them. If the offer is rebuffed, the coveter can make a new proposal, but he cannot simply take what he wants. Its an effective way of recognizing the impracticality of the Tenth Commandment while enforcing the Eighth.
Donald Trumps covetous nature is not in dispute, but what many may forget is that hes no great respecter of the admonition not to steal, either: The man has a track record of using the government as a hired thug to take other peoples property. This is called, of course, eminent domain.
The Constitutions Fifth Amendment allows the government to take private property for public use, so long as just compensation is paid. In the infamous 2005 Kelo decision, the Supreme Court held that public use could include, well, private use, so long as the new property owner paid more in taxes than the previous one. In other words, it allowed developers and the government to gang up on homeowners. The developer gets more land, the government gets more tax money. The only losers are the original owner and his property rights.
A decade and a half ago, it was fresh on everyones mind that Donald Trump is one of the leading users of this form of state-sanctioned thievery. It was all over the news. In perhaps the most-remembered example, John Stossel got the toupéed one to sputter about how, if he wasnt allowed to steal an elderly widows house to expand an Atlantic City casino, the government would get less tax money, and seniors like her would get less this and that. Today, however, it takes a push from the Club for Growth to remind us of Trumps lack of respect for property rights. The problem dates back to at least 1994.
That year, Trump promised to turn Bridgeport, Conn., intoa national tourist destination by building a $350 million combined amusement park, shipping terminal and seaport village and office complex on the east side of the harbor, reported the Hartford Courant. At a press conference during which almost every statement contained the term world class, Trump and Mayor Joseph Ganim lavished praise on one another and the development project and spoke of restoring Bridgeport to its glory days.
The wrinkle? Five businesses and the city-owned Pleasure Beach now occupy the land, as the Courant put it. The solution? The city would become a partner with Trump Connecticut Inc. and obtain the land through its powers of condemnation. Trump would in turn buy the land from the city. Heres how the story concluded: The entire development would cost the city nothing, Trump said, and no private homeowners would be affected because there are no dwellings on the land. Trump would own everything.
That brings us to the story of the aforementioned elderly widow in Atlantic City, which starts at about the same time. The woman, Vera Coking, had owned property near the Trump Plaza Hotel for three decades, and didnt want to move. Trump thought the land was better suited for use as a park, a parking lot, and a waiting area for limousines. He tried to negotiate, at one point offering Coking $1 million for the land. But she wasnt budging. So New Jerseys Casino Reinvestment Development Authority filed a lawsuit, instructing Coking to leave within 90 days and offering compensation of only $251,000. Perhaps the only upside to this story is that in neither case did Trump succeed.
The Bridgeport plan fizzled. Coking fought in court, and in part because these were the days before Kelo was decided, no doubt she was lucky enough to win. In 1998, a judge threw out the case. In 2005, however, Trump was delighted to find that the Supreme Court had okayed the brand of government-abetted theft that hed twice attempted. I happen to agree with it 100 percent, he told Fox Newss Neil Cavuto of the Kelo decision.
Can Republicans support someone with so little regard for the property of others? Lets hope not.
Robert VerBruggen is an associate editor of National Review.
As Ted Cruz would say: “Truth is not rhetoric”
And this isn’t a hit piece.
Trump is turning out to be David. Fox has crossed the rubicon and many others are as well. Never to return to credibility.
time travelling hit pieces!
I think this is a valid issue. No candidate is perfect, so these things must be weighed in the big picture. But still, it seems fundamentally wrong to me for the government to take property from one and give it to another just for the purpose of collecting more taxes.
Meanwhile Trump is renting out the jet for a soft porn pictoral in GQ...
So? How is he different from almost all tax and spenders in DC on this 7ssue?
Scott is re-making “Brazil”?
Check the date.
It’s why Trump is a non starter with me.
Trump agreed with the 5 radical left wing activist “justices” that the government can seize private property from one individual and give it to another individual or corporation, for PRIVATE use, if it will generate an extra nickel in taxes.
But, I know, I know Trump is America’s savior, Megyn Kelly is the Devil, blah, blah, blah..,
When Donald Trump is sworn in, we can breathe deeply and rest assured that he got there, not because of FreeRepublic, but despite it.
National Review would be better named the Hate Trump network.
Anti-Trump hit pieces, 24/7
But the article is right. The businessman in Trump LIKES Kelo and the ability to force a person to sell their property if he wants it.
Is there a statute of limitations on a “conservative” presidential candidate supporting the trampling of private property rights...and gun rights and the right to life?
>> “When Donald Trump is sworn in, we can breathe deeply and rest assured that he got there, not because of FreeRepublic, but despite it.” <<
Are you sure?
There are plenty of imbeciles here swooning over his theater.
Ain’t theater. I’ve been on this planet long enough to know a liar. Donald Trump is the real deal.
I listened to “Art of The Deal,” concerning this particular case about the woman in Atlantic City. Apparently, she was the only hold out and her place was a shack. She should have taken the $1 million dollars and improved her status. I would have. That was far more than what it was worth. I know our local hospital bought out an entire street with Imminent domain policy. The people got far more for their properties than what they were worth. It was a win/win for everyone.
And you stick your head in the sand because the TRUTH is flying too fast at you?
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