Get weekly updates from Reason.
Today's Top Topics
Recent Research and Commentary
The Florida Supreme Court's decision violates the takings clause and should be reversed by the Supreme CourtDecember 1, 2012
The use and enjoyment of private property is a fundamental right, and important to a democratic society. The takings clause was designed to protect this core value.
This Court has long recognized that limitations on the exercise of rights in private property are as much "takings" as are physical invasion of property. Government regulation tends to become ubiquitous, and government constantly develops new and artful ways to appropriate rights to use and enjoy private property for the “public good.” Unless constrained by a requirement to compensate owners of private property, in a majoritarian system, government agencies will allocate disproportionate burdens of achieving public purposes to politically weak segments of the citizenry.
￼The Florida Supreme Court incorrectly court assumed that in Nollan and Dolan the land-use agencies had issued permits after actually taking the exacted property. In fact, in both Nollan and Dolan the agencies had imposed the exactions prior to issuance of the permits, similar to the case at bar.
Reason Foundation Files Amicus Brief Urging the Supreme Court to Hear Horne v. The U.S. Department of Agriculture
The Court should take this opportunity to overrule the Ninth Circuit's ruling that imposes unwarranted burdens on property ownersSeptember 14, 2012
If the Ninth Circuit’s decision is permitted to stand, property owners who have been wrongfully ordered to pay the Federal Government money—in proceedings the government itself initiated—will not at that time be permitted to invoke the Takings Clause in their defense. Instead, after litigating all other constitutional and statutory defenses, they will have to hand over their money to the government. They will then have to go to a different forum, the Court of Federal Claims, and file a separate suit against the government under the Tucker Act just to make their takings claims “ripe.” Only then will a court decide whether the monies the property owners had to pay were unconstitutional takings. And if they were, only then will the property owners receive their money back.
This Rube Goldberg approach to adjudicating takings claims serves no valid purpose.
Both Robert Shiller and city officials in San Bernardino County should reconsider their support for condemning underwater mortgagesJuly 6, 2012
Professor Robert Shiller argues that there is a collective action problem slowing down the housing market and that we should use eminent domain to "condemn" underwater mortgages, forcibly buy them from mortgage-backed securities (MBS) investors at rates below face value, then sell the new mortgages with lowered principal balances to other private investors. City officials in San Bernardino County are considering this approach, but before they go any further they should know this is a terrible idea.
The reason so many homes remain underwater is because of intentional, subjective investment decisions made by banks, hedge funds, and institutional investors. Many of them could act, many of them choose not to. Just because the investment choice of mortgage-backed securities investors is undesirable doesn't mean investors are incapable of doing their own analysis. It is certainly likely that some principal has not been written down because of paperwork backlogs, poorly trained customer service reps, incompetent managers, and other unfortunate problems. But this is not cause to make a utilitarian argument that what is good for the whole should be valued over the good of the few and rights trampled for a supposedly righteous cause.
The reality is that sometimes write-downs are helpful, other times they are not. There is no universally accepted, objective, single course of action that the masses just have not seen. Moreover, this idea is detrimental to property rights and abuses the power of eminent domain. The only collective action problem here is that the collective have not acted as Shiller would prefer.
Reason.tv has released an engaging and sobering video on the effects of urban renewal on America's inner cities in "The Tragedy of Urban Renewal."
In Virginia, the government gives you the sand, then they take the beach.August 5, 2011
In 2009 Virginia Beach condemned a spot on the Chesapeake Bay in order to take it for a sand-replenishment project and public access. The city claimed the property of Tommy Sheets, who owns about a quarter-acre of beach, was worth $4,000. But on June 9 of this year, a jury said the city should pay Sheets $152,000 for his property. In response, the city has decided—surprise!—it owned easement rights to the property all along, so it doesn’t have to pay Sheets a dime. Virginia Beach’s plan to grab the land on the cheap backfired, write A. Barton Hinkle, so now it’s trying an end-run around its own citizens—not to mention the judicial system and the city citizens who ruled in Sheets’ favor.
A riveting new documentary takes on New York's shameful eminent domain abuseJuly 11, 2011
Drawn from hundreds of hours of footage shot over a seven year period, the new documentary Battle for Brooklyn shines a spotlight on New York’s controversial use of eminent domain on behalf of the Atlantic Yards project, a corporate welfare boondoggle orchestrated by Bruce Ratner, a real estate tycoon and part-owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team. As Associate Editor Damon Root observes, this riveting film offers audiences the rare opportunity to watch a massive government swindle unfold before their eyes.
View Resources by Type
- Analysis of California's Proposition 90
The Protect Our Homes Act
October 18, 2006
- Statewide Regulatory Takings Reform
Exporting Oregon's Measure 37 to Other States
April 1, 2006
- Protect Ohio Homes
Reason Amicus Brief
November 1, 2005
- Restricting Eminent Domain
Model State Statutory Language & Local Ordinance/Charter Provision
July 1, 2005
- Eminent Domain, Private Property, and Redevelopment
An Economic Analysis
Samuel Staley and John P. Blair
February 3, 2005
- Reason Foundation Supreme Court Amicus Brief: Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District (12/1)
- Reason Foundation Files Amicus Brief Urging the Supreme Court to Hear Horne v. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (9/14)
- Cities Taking Mortgages with Eminent Domain is a Bad Idea (7/6)
- The Tragedy of Urban Renewal (10/2)
- Eminent Domain in the Old Dominion (8/5)
Experts: Eminent Domain and Regulatory Takings
- Leonard Gilroy
Director of Government Reform
- Samuel Staley
- Jacob Sullum
RSS Feeds: Eminent Domain and Regulatory Takings
Media ContactChris Mitchell
Director of Communications
Your tax-deductible gift can help us promote individual liberty, choice, and free minds and free markets.