New York Town Threatens To Use Eminent Domain If Citizens Do Not Sell Out To Powerful Developer

Despite the criticism of the Supreme Court’s eminent domain ruling in Kelo, the city of Auburn, New York appears undeterred and is threatening to invoke eminent domain to seize private property for a private company. The Kelo opinion was wrongly decided in allowing a Connecticut town to seize homes to give the land to a private company. Putting that flawed legal logic aside, I am astonished that elected officials continue to abuse eminent domain powers in this way and shows the need for state laws barring the practice. Mayor Mike Quill insists that the interests of the majority (and one powerful developer) must trump the property rights of a few citizens.

Ironically, after selling out their fellow citizens, the people of New London, Connecticut never did reap the rewards that they sought, here.
The city is threatening citizens that if they do not reach an agreement with a developer, the city will come in and take the land and give it to the developer.

Auburn Mayor Michael Quill admits “eminent domain, no one likes it.” Well . . . no they don’t, Mayor Quill, but particularly when you are coercing citizens to sell to powerful developers or face the seizure of their property by the city.

Quill insists that “we have a responsibility to the entire community . . . we have to look at the long range for the entire community.” That is hardly an excuse to use any means that benefits the majority. That would be a justification for everything from eminent domain to majoritarian terror. There are many acts that would benefit the majority by penalizing a few. That does not make it right or wise. The Supreme Court was wrong in its 5-4 decision in Kelo, but the fact that the city can do this act does not make it right to do it.

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18 thoughts on “New York Town Threatens To Use Eminent Domain If Citizens Do Not Sell Out To Powerful Developer”

  1. I am glad to see that most agree that Kelo was a tragic decision by the liberal court and it will stand until the court gets it right. I wish Prof Turley would polish his credentials by never ever again appearing on Countdown.

  2. “we have a responsibility to the entire community . . . we have to look at the long range for the entire community.”

    These words can be applied against the mayor himself. Perhaps he should be removed for the good of the entire community?

  3. The day that the people own (control of) their land is the day that the “government” loses control. Who among us is going to pay attention to the clowns if they can’t take away our home?

  4. ian,

    That was a shocking concept to me when I was in my first year of law school. I was paralyzed with fear.

  5. Actually, if I am not mistaken, Texas still has allodial title in some circumstances and Nevada had it until recently. But what a strange idea, that you spend all that money to ‘buy’ property and in the end, you actually dont really own it.

  6. Years ago, they used eminent domain to build super highways.Progress was made so now we can travel 90 mph thru boredom.OK it got us there faster. However, to build another motel/hotel and have a thriving business (pet owner) and future hopes taken away, seems heavy handed.I strongly support the town in checking out this mayor’s bank acct, if this goes thru. also, when is the next election. Somebody should talk “turkey” to this mayor and find another spot to build on. this carpenters or builder assoc should go on down to New Orleans or Haiti and build to their hearts content.

  7. Citizens need to wise up the following. The Founders (the original 13 colonies) never intended for the “pubic use” aspect of the Constitution’s eminent domain protection to apply to the states. In other words, states don’t need an excuse to take land, although the 14th A. now requires the states to compensate land owners for taking the land.

    Since the time of Kelo, I think a few states have wised up to making legislation that protects landowners. However, possibly as a consequence of not understanding federal and state laws, NY citizens have evidently not worked with their state’s lawmakers to protect landowners.

  8. Another 88-room Hilton Garden Inn and Conference Center … just what the world needs.

    By the way I read in the news sources that the Mayor Mike Quill “… has a photograph on this desk with former Governor Sarah Palin and Todd Palin.

  9. Great! The Mayor’s name is Michael Quill.

    This really takes me back. In 1970 at GW Law, Professor Don Rothschild described the limits of injunctive relief in labor disputes by quoting from Transportation Workers Union chief, Michael J. “Mike” Quill.

    From wiki, “[In 1966, New York City Mayor John Lindsay] decided to take on the TWU, provoking a twelve day strike. The world’s largest subway and bus systems, serving eight million people daily, came to a complete halt. The City obtained an injunction prohibiting the strike and succeeded in imprisoning Quill and seven other leaders of the TWU and the Amalgamated Association, which joined in the stoppage, for contempt of court.

    “Quill did not waver, responding at a crowded press conference: “The judge can drop dead in his black robes!”

    Quill won the strike.

    Three days after the victory celebration, he had a heart attack.

    He dropped dead.

    I am pretty sure that I recall that Don told us that his conservative co-editor, Leroy Merrifield, would not let him use Quill’s quotation to lead their casebook.

  10. @ ian:

    As per the fifth and tenth Amendments to the Constitution, we do not have Allodial title in the United States.

    Which is a damn shame, because, as you note, it means any “landowner” is just renting the land from the government.

  11. When have we had REAL property rights? Since we basically rent land from our government why should we have any rights to say what is done with it? Unless you have an allodial title you are just using the government’s land anyway.
    Just like your car which you have to register and for which you dont own the actual Manufacturer Statement of Origin (the state does but) gives you certificate of title). The idea of property rights in this country is a sham.

  12. Look at the Poletown case.

    The 362 acres (1.46 km2) site was once an inner-city neighborhood known as Poletown, but was razed and converted to a $500 million assembly plant in 1985. Poletown was the location for 1,200 homes and businesses, including Chrysler’s Dodge Main factory. The destruction of this neighborhood was the subject of five years of protests and court battles, but the city sided with General Motors, seeking new jobs and investment. The city took the land by eminent domain, and this decision was later criticized as a misuse of this power

  13. I hope somebody is keeping watch over this Mayor’s finances. Sounds like major bribe time.

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