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Posted on August 29th, 2012, by

The property right is one of the fundamental rights in the USA. In fact, the property right is the basis of the entire socio-economic system of the USA since it is the property that is defines the social status of an individual and is the main asset an individual or organizations possess.

In such a situation, any attempts to limit the property rights of American citizens naturally evoked numerous protests and strong opposition from the part of civil rights activists and public organizations guarding human rights in the country. In this respect, the Supreme Court’s rule in the Kelo vs. New London case in June 2006, evoked a particularly strong criticism and opposition from politicians, civil rights activists and organizations.

On analyzing the Kelo vs. New London case, it should be said that the case decided by the Supreme Court of the US involving the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another to further economic development. In such a way, the property right of one private owner was violated by the Supreme Court’s decision, but the Supreme Court decision was justified. To put it more precisely, the case arose from the condemnation by New London of privately owned real property so that it could be used as a part of a comprehensive redevelopment plan. On this ground, the Supreme Court held in a 5-4 decision that the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified such redevelopment plans as a permissible “public use”¯ under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

At the same time, critics argued that such a decision violated the private property rights and, as the matter of fact, it put the economic interests of the community prior to the basic human right of an individual ”“ the property right (Kanner, 201). No wonder, the decision provoked great criticism from the part of politicians and the general public. The public opinion was inclined to view the Supreme Court’s rule as a gross violation of the property right and as a misinterpretation of the Fifth Amendment, which actually protected against the abuse of government authority in a legal procedure but did not imply the possibility of the violation of property rights of American citizens.

Moreover, specialists argued that the Supreme Court’s decision would not only violate property rights but it would mainly be to benefit of large corporations which could use the Supreme Court rule and the comprehensive redevelopment plans to take possession of property of ordinary citizens. At this point, it is possible to refer to the dissent opinion by the former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who stated that in the result of the Supreme Court’s rule:

The specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory”¦ Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disappropriate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms. (Kelo et al. v. New London City et al., 2005).

In such a way, it is obvious that the Supreme Court’s rule raised a serious problem, a threat to property rights of Americans. Today, this decision still is a subject of debates between politicians, the general public and representatives of the judicial power.

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