There are several commonly used arguments against eminent domain. In this post, we will briefly discuss a few of the most used arguments against eminent domain, no matter how much of a benefit eminent domain can be, advantages of eminent domain included. “Commerce Clause” is the first argument, most people bring up when they are trying to stop their neighbors from taking away their land. This is a very common argument, and it is one of the main reasons I believe in defending the constitutionality of our nation’s laws. The reason most people bring up this argument is that it is an extremely confusing argument. The fact that the Supreme Court has declared that the framers intended for the power of Congress to prevent the exercise of this authority is, to me, clearly wrong. Here is why that is so.
The Strength of the Commerce Clause
If there had been no Commerce Clause, we would have been very different. For instance, some people would have argued that states could interfere with each other in order to protect their own citizens from being harmed by others who did not live in that state. However, as long as there is a common argument against eminent domain, I am free to use it to justify whatever law I want.
The problem is that all of these various theories about how government should behave really don’t make sense. Some of them are extremely dangerous for the future of our country. A few of them are simply not true. Still others are entirely unnecessary to solve any problems.
One of the problems with modern-day theorists of the Fifth Amendment is that they seem to look at the United States as a country with a very unique system of checks and balances. They almost insist that there must be some special reason why the US government shouldn’t take private property without compensation. That is just crazy.
First of all, you never lose anything when you own a house. You might lose your car, but you still have a home. Government just doesn’t lose any property. So why is it necessary to eliminate someone’s home from the equation? What is the point of paying taxes on something you never use?
Also, one of the most common arguments against eminent domain makes the interesting point that private property rights are unalienable. Now, what would happen if the government started taking properties “out of circulation” right before the Second World War? Private property is unalienable, because it is inherent in the Constitution. So, theoretically, you can always get your own piece of property.
So, basically, you have a problem with the government owning the property because it simply lacks the ability to do so. The argument that I like to advance here is that if the government cannot do something, then why do we pay them for it? In other words, if the government cannot or should not do something, then why are they doing it? There has to be some benefit to the government other than the ability to collect interest, plus their very own interest in making sure the laws are passed. But, there is a problem with this kind of reasoning; because, the first premise is that if something cannot be done, then something should not be done.
And, if that is the case, then obviously there is no such thing as absolute property rights. You see, the government cannot simply take your home or business or land because you don’t want it is an affront to your individual freedom. So, in the final analysis, it appears that there are more common sense arguments against eminent domain than against it. Besides that, if you really look at it from a philosophical stand point, you will quickly understand that the very idea of individual property rights was born out of the common law. It is not a new concept. And, if you really believe that your property is worth something and that it is important to protect that individual right, then it makes sense to use eminent domain laws.