published Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Property rights at stake in Supreme Court case

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a case that has disturbing hints of environmental extremism and violation of property rights.

At issue is a piece of land that a couple bought in a subdivision in Idaho. They planned to live on the residential property, which was near other homes and was already complete with a sewer hookup.

But after they bought the land and began clearing it, the Environmental Protection Agency ordered them to cease and desist -- and to "restore" the land by putting in plants that were suitable for wetlands. They were told they would have to maintain the land in its supposedly natural wetlands state for three years before they could even seek a permit to build. That process would cost them $200,000, but the alternative was to pay outrageous fines of as much as $37,500 per day if they did not comply with the environmental demands.

To make it all worse, they were denied a hearing on the costly order by the EPA. Whether they are entitled to such a hearing is what the Supreme Court plans to consider. But the broader issue is one of government takings of private property.

The key question would seem to be whether it was clear when the couple bought the land that it was subject to wetlands restrictions. If no such restrictions were in place at the time of the purchase, it was unjust to destroy the value of the couple's investment by declaring ordinary development of the land off limits. That amounts to a government taking, which the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution forbids without "just compensation."

The relevant part of the amendment reads, "[N]or shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

By requiring the non-development of the private property in question and its "public use" as a wetland, the federal government essentially "took" the land's value from its owners. And thus, far from threatening them with fines, it probably should be paying them "just compensation."

Sadly, that does not appear to be in prospect.

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And yet Kelo V. New London is unchallenged.

Now it's a city dump. Huzzah.

But actually the property owners were told by an expert they hired that they probably needed to get a Wetlands permit, and they were offered a chance to get one. The reason the property owners are suing is not because they've had any judgment or action taken against them, but because they wanted to be able to sue before that happens.

It's like trying to appeal a conviction before you've even been indicted.

January 22, 2012 at 12:19 a.m.
conservative said...

I loathe the term "wetlands" because the land in question is most often not wet. I recall the Lieberal mess media 25 to 30 years ago using the term "wetlands" while showing film of ducks swimming in a pristine pond. Socialist propaganda at its best. People are such sheep.

January 22, 2012 at 9:21 a.m.

That's why you're trying to herd them, isn't it? It's a pretty traditional "conservative" mantra, that the evil government is making some environmental mandate, and that's just broke. Yeah, believe it or not, not all images of something are representative of all variations of it.

But since we know the property was bought for its lake view, it's hardly unreasonable to think that just maybe, it's wetlands. Especially when an expert you hire tells you to get a permit first.

But no, they just decided to sue, and then they got aid from corporations seeking to influence this legal case. In other words, businesses who want to herd people like you into their way of thinking.

January 22, 2012 at 10:04 a.m.
macropetala8 said...

Y'all ain't seen nuthin' yet! Just wait and see what happens as those code enforcers across the country are given more and more power over citizens and their property.

From: The City Of Philadelphia News:

excerpt: " PHILADELPHIA (CN) - A federal racketeering complaint accuses high-ranking Philadelphia code-enforcement officials of looting the residences of elderly and disabled citizens “under the fraudulent pretenses of needing to clear the homes of various code violations.” The scheme, carried out as part of a purported anti-blight initiative called the Community Life Improvement Program (CLIP), “has so far resulted in at least nine felony convictions” on charges that include perjury, theft and gun running, according to Steven Tengood, a longtime civilian worker in the Armed Forces who says the home he’s lived in for nearly 45 years was plundered by CLIP workers. Tengood, 62, says one of the stolen guns was later used in a homicide

http://www.tkslegalservices.com/THE_WORD_files/widget1_markup.html

Do more laws only serve to create more criminals with power and authority to abuse? Seems like for every law created, there's someone in a position of power and authority who are likely to abuse their power and authority. hmmmmmmmm

At the end of the day, the sole purpose of power is to abuse it. ;(

January 22, 2012 at 1:40 p.m.

Only if you believe all people are evil. I am not that cynical myself.

January 22, 2012 at 2:28 p.m.
Legend said...

All people aren't evil. However, it only takes one evil person in a position of power and authority to bring untold suffering to many. Hitler comes to mind. So does Idi Amin. Joseph Stalin and a few others. Evil will always exist in the world. It's the evil that man in power and with authority is capable of committing that is the problem.

January 22, 2012 at 5:44 p.m.

The poster above said "the sole purpose" which means that every person with power must be intent on using it for evil.

I will agree that power is capable of causing harm, but so can a failure to use one's power.

A Utopian society of consensual interaction may be an ideal, but we're not there yet.

January 22, 2012 at 5:47 p.m.
Legend said...

happywithnewbulbs said... The poster above said "the sole purpose" which means that every person with power must be intent on using it for evil.

That's actually a quote the person was referencing. I've seen it in a book and other reading material about power, people in power and how power corrupts. I think that's why the poster place the the sentence in italics. That's usually a sign someone is quoting, and it is not the actual words of the poster.

But then again, how often do we see people in positions of power who do not abuse and take advantage of their position?

January 22, 2012 at 5:55 p.m.

I believe the italics were for emphasis, given the usage earlier in the post, even in the first sentence. They used "bold italics" for their quoting section. Not that it being a quote means anything, as it's clearly quite an intentional statement, not a reference but one of belief. So even if it were a quote, it wouldn't matter. It'd still be something they are espousing.

But not abusing a position? It's quite prevalent, in my experience. The problem is...it doesn't get in the papers. Something about it not being noteworthy. Social Worker rescues a child from abusive situation. Sanitation Engineer stops pollution. It's just not news. Not going to get noticed. Even a police officer arresting a criminal gets little attention to the actions of the police.

January 22, 2012 at 6:20 p.m.
Legend said...

happywithnewbulbs said... I believe the italics were for emphasis

Actually, in the world of grammar and language, bold print stands for emphasis. Italics stands for quotes. ;)

But here's another one: "HUD kicks 101yr old woman out of her home!"

huffington post:

Texana Hollis was evicted Sept. 12 and her belongings placed outside after her 65-year-old son failed to pay property taxes linked to a reverse mortgage and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development foreclosed on the home.

Two days later, the department said she could return. But now, HUD said it won't let Hollis move back in because of the house's condition. She had lived there about 60 years.

Doesn't Detroit have tax relief for the elderly? From age 80 or 85 on in most states a property owner isn't required to pay property taxes. This is the way HUD is gobbling up property in many states from the elderly and disabled, I guess?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/22/texana-hollis-evicted-detroit-woman_n_1222452.html

January 22, 2012 at 8:36 p.m.

Actually, I've seen plenty of examples of italics used for such emphasis, especially on boards such as this one where there is no consistent standard, and the interface is lacking.

Even the Chicago Manual of Style covers it. I'll trust them over you. And I'll go with my interpretation of the words, not a simple quote, but a statement that espouses a sincerely held belief.

I consider it a mistaken one. If the sole purpose of power is abuse, that requires all persons to be evil. As I said, I am not that cynical. I believe there are people who make use of power in responsible methods.

As for HUD, do you want HUD to let somebody move back into a home they don't feel is safe? That they might know has problems? Do you think for a second that if she got hurt, or died, somebody wouldn't be suing the federal government for neglect?

I know they would. I've seen it happen.

And you know the principle reason why HUD can't do anything? They aren't allowed to just do it. Because they are hamstrung in their authority, they are deliberately limited in their capacity to act, to improve a situation. Why? Some of it is to keep thing ostensibly equal, some of it is to "protect" people by keeping the government from doing something that might not be expressly permitted and that might mean somebody's freedom is taken, and some of it is just because someone is worried that some money somewhere might be wasted.

It's sad how protecting people's freedom leads to powerless government agencies that can't help when there is a need.

People got so afraid of the bureaucracy that they created rules to bind it, but I guess they didn't make things better.

January 22, 2012 at 8:58 p.m.
macropetala8 said...

OK, you two. So you both can get your panties out of your cracks.

The term: "At the end of the day, the sole purpose of power is to abuse it" really is a quote. Maybe I should have used "quotation marks" to avoid any confusion?

@As for HUD, do you want HUD to let somebody move back into a home they don't feel is safe?

HUD may use the excuse the home is unsafe to justify taking a home away from an individual they've made a loan to. The Detroit story mentioned by LGND is just one in several that have taken place around the country where individuals sought loans from HUD to make repairs on their homes.

January 22, 2012 at 9:59 p.m.

Well, you could have referenced your source, if it were important. I don't think it is. It doesn't really matter that you were quoting something, or what typographical features you used. You were expressing a sentiment of belief through that sentence, right? That the sole purpose of power was to abuse it.

For it to be true, you have to believe all people are evil. I am not that cynical myself. But do you disagree with the logic I offered? Do you think that there is some other reasoning behind the end of your sentence?

As for HUD, no, they didn't say anything about the home being unsafe before the foreclosure, it was a failure to pay property taxes, despite months of warnings that were mentioned in the article I read on it. Apparently HUD had owned the home since 2006. Reminds me of the opening of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe, except there really was an available notice. But when looking at the home, they realized it just wasn't safe or sanitary. I can believe that. I've seen a lot of senior citizens in homes that were falling apart, and their family did nothing to fix it.

There's a tragedy in that too, don't you think? Especially when the senior is demanding that they be kept in the home, come hell or high water. Very sad.

As I said though, the problem is a lack of power, believe it or not. There's nobody around who can say "Ok, this needs to be done this way" but instead a complicated morass of rules to keep anybody from abusing their power.

And yes, this happens in private institutions too. Heck, just go look up some of the fraudulent evictions that were done by private banks. You might say that's the problem of people having access to power, but then, I'd say the lack of authority to do anything would cause a lot of people to default on their loans, so either way you'd have abuses.

BTW, I'm sure if this about this woman not being able to vote, the right side of this paper would be entirely indifferent to her plight, so pardon me for thinking that if they express any concern on the subject, that it will be faked, and meant at another goal.

Heck, I'm sure when the banks finally get dunned for their foreclosure scams, they'll be up in arms at the government taking a private business to task over it.

See, sometimes I can be a cynic!

January 22, 2012 at 10:31 p.m.
macropetala8 said...

happywithnewbulbs said... Well, you could have referenced your source, if it were important. I don't think it is

geesh! It's just a discussion forum. An unofficial one at that. btw--It was only important* to you. ????? Were you made to feel insecure as a child or something? Always a need to prove yourself? Why so touchy about something so unimportant? Take a chill pill and relax.

reference a source? OK_by happywithnewbulbs. Does that meet approval? Didn't know people on this board were so sensitive. LOL!!

Anyway, HUD has tricked a lot of elderly people who have gone to them to get what they believe are grants, for needed home repairs. HUD would tell them they do not have to pay the money back. However, when the elderly person has died any surviving family members were not allowed to claim the home unless they were able to pay off the money the elderly individual has gotten to make repairs. Which in most all cases the family, often poor themselves, of course didn't have the money to pay.

January 22, 2012 at 10:54 p.m.

It wasn't important to me. That's why I originally said "Not that it being a quote means anything, as it's clearly quite an intentional statement, not a reference but one of belief." which I can understand you missing, but "It doesn't really matter that you were quoting something, or what typographical features you used. " was in a reply to you.

You're saying it's unimportant too. But you're just as culpable as I am in going over it. It seems to me you're the one touchy over it, to the point of ignoring the question I do consider important .

Let me repeat it:

"But do you disagree with the logic I offered? Do you think that there is some other reasoning behind the end of your sentence?"

You seem to be ducking that issue, with your focus on nothing, which you blame on me, and attack me with your own characterizations. But I'm not writing your posts, or asking you to say anything about it. You keep doing it on your own. And to me, you seem to be the child, since you're trying to attack me as one.

As for the reverse mortgages, it's not HUD officials doing that. That would be the scam artists involved, like the ones who engage in property flipping, to create a home with inflated worth, sell it to a senior who is convinced to get a reverse mortgage to cover it. Or the ones who take out the money, promise to apply it to the loan, but don't do it. HUD warns about such scams. As for inheritance, the HUD documents quite clearly make the conditions apparent to anybody. It's not in hidden print either.

You're blaming the wrong people.

You could say you can't do a good deed without somebody deciding to take advantage of it, but I don't see that as a reason to do nothing. It's not like the same things don't happen in other mortgages too.

I see it as a call for more regulation, not less. Of course, you see other people blaming the government for the whole housing crisis, as if it wasn't deregulation that was the issue which caused it. It's not that the government did anything to cause it, they didn't do enough to stop it. And some people's solution? MORE DEREGULATION!

That's sad to me.

January 22, 2012 at 11:16 p.m.
Lr103 said...

@Anyway, HUD has tricked a lot of elderly people who have gone to them to get what they believe are grants, for needed home repairs. HUD would tell them they do not have to pay the money back

I've known individuals whose elderly parents' home was paid for. The elderly parents, I believe, mistakenly thought the money from HUD used to make repairs was a grant when they were told the money didn't have to be paid back. When the elderly parents died and their offspring sought to claim the family home HUD informed them the money was actually a loan the offspring would have to repay in order to claim the family homestead. The parents die believing they're leaving the home to their children. That's not true.

January 23, 2012 at 3:12 p.m.
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