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Eminent domain

Eminent domain

Sometimes involuntary is better

Tulsa World

By DAVID AVERILL World Editorial Writer

Published: 3/21/2010  2:25 AM
Last Modified: 3/21/2010  4:21 AM

Eminent domain has become a dirty word. That's due in large part to a steady drumbeat of opposition to the process by libertarians and other government-haters, and to populist — and popular — politicians like Ron Paul who usually have an anti-eminent domain plank in their platforms.

There have been legislative efforts around the country to limit it. A bill now before the Oklahoma Legislature would require that land acquired through eminent domain be used for its stated purpose within five years or offered for sale back to the original owner.

It's been challenged in court, largely over the extent to which a government entity may acquire property through legal condemnation and then offer it to private developers for non-public uses. In a recent Oklahoma case the state Supreme Court ruled that Oklahoma State University can use eminent domain to acquire land to complete its commodious athletic complex, including an athletic village.

A negative image of the process has grown in the public's eye: Eminent domain is nothing but a vehicle that lets Big Gummint, roughshod, "take" or seize private property from powerless citizens. The unspoken implication is that its victims are not compensated for their loss, or aren't compensated nearly enough... FULL ARTICLE


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