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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 29, 2005 / 22 Sivan, 5765

Making parking lots out of ‘castles’

By John Stossel


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Think your house is your castle? Our country's Founders thought so. They put three provisions into the Bill of Rights to protect it.

But last week, the Supreme Court said the government can take away your house just because it thinks someone else could make better use of your home or business than you can.

The justification? The Constitution does recognize that there are public needs, such as building roads, so vital the government must be able to take your land. It says the government may take property, but only for a "public use" and with "just compensation."

The phrase at the center of last week's case is "public use." It's an important phrase, because it's supposed to mean that the government can only use force to take your property in order to do its job. The government, which is supposed to stop criminals from driving you off your land, isn't supposed to get to force you off your land just because some official thinks someone else will put the land to "better" use.

I once brought ABC's cameras to a neighborhood in New Rochelle, N.Y., that politicians decided to flatten to make room for an Ikea furniture outlet. The mayor boasted that a new store would replace a "blighted" neighborhood. Blighted? It was a perfectly nice group of homes and businesses.

I like Ikea stores. But let them build them on their own property.

Why should homeowners be forced out? Why do the politicians get to decide? The people who lived in the neighborhood couldn't believe what was happening to them. As one woman said, "What freedom do we have when we have businesses that will just come in and say, 'Oh, you have to move'?" But businesses can't force anyone to move. Only government gets to use force; Ikea was just the favored business that day. The government had decided that selling furniture was a "public use": "urban renewal" that would be "good for the community."

Said Dana Berliner, a lawyer for the libertarian law firm Institute for Justice, "It's always what the 'community' wants. The 'community' wants to be more upscale. It figures it can get there by sacrificing some of its members, forcing them to move when they don't want to." Fortunately, the New Rochelle homeowners were able to keep their property. Ikea and the politicians backed down after the publicity.

Donald Trump wasn't so easy. In the early Nineties, he wanted to expand one of his casinos in Atlantic City.

Vera Coking was in the way. The elderly widow had lived in a house in Atlantic City for more than 30 years, and she didn't want to move. So New Jersey's Casino Reinvestment Development Authority sued to "acquire" Coking's property.

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It looked to me as though the government was robbing Coking to pay Trump. I confronted him about it: "In the old days," I said, "big developers came in with thugs with clubs. Now you use lawyers. You go to court and you force people out."

He replied: "Other people maybe use thugs today. I don't." True enough. Trump didn't send thugs after Coking; he sent the government. That's worse. If he had sent thugs, Coking could have called the police. But when government forces you out of your home so that some other private person can pave it, whom are you going to call?

Trump wanted to turn Coking's home into a parking lot. The court accepted the bureaucrats' decision that the parking lot would be a "public use" but rejected Trump's bid, saying Trump's private benefit "overwhelmed" the public benefit. Justice Stevens, in his opinion for the Court last week, uses a similar notion when he claims that the purpose of taking your land to give it to some well-connected corporation must still be a public one, such as improving the economy; merely benefiting a company isn't good enough.

But as Justice O'Connor pointed out in her dissent, if you can think of a more economically productive use for your home, you'd better worry. If a politician thinks of it, your castle may not be yours any longer.

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JWR contributor John Stossel is co-anchor of ABC News' "20/20." To comment, please click here.


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