Property Rights

Your home is your castle—unless the government thinks it should be a shopping center. Learn how citizens and local governments can protect homes and businesses from government takeovers.

<p>Your home is your castle—unless the government thinks it should be a shopping center. Learn how citizens and local governments can protect homes and businesses from government takeovers.</p>

Lighting up on private property will become a criminal activity if a group called Smoke-Free Arizona has its way. The association is collecting signatures for an initiative that, if adopted, would make smoking illegal almost anywhere in Arizona.

Property rights proponents are united in their opposition to Tempe's abuse of eminent domain to take private property so a developer can build an enormous retail shopping mall.

In a move that may obfuscate the issues involved in the project, the developer shrewdly hired Tom Liddy as a spokesman, capitalizing on his former affiliation as an Institute for Justice attorney and his marginal role in the Bailey Brake Shop case.

Property owners are reeling from last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Kelo v. City of New London, which permits the Connecticut municipality to seize land from homeowners and sell it to a private developer to build a hotel, office space, and shops.

The Court's decision gutted Fifth Amendment private property protections, which limit government power to seize private property to cases where it is needed for "public use," traditionally interpreted as projects like roads and bridges.

A recent Arizona Republic article reports "Peoria [has] an eminent-domain policy, apparently unique in Arizona, to make sure the city takes land only for the public good, not to help out developers." In light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Kelo v. City of New London that permitted the taking of private property for private use, Peoria's policy might be of particular interest to city policymakers looking to provide greater protection for their residents.

The bulldozers are revving their engines.

Emboldened by the June 23 U.S. Supreme Court ruling permitting governments to take private property in the name of higher tax revenue, cities from Connecticut to Missouri to Texas are moving to build shopping centers and hotels where homes now stand.

Smoking is a dirty habit, and unhealthy too.

But are these reasons enough for government to infringe on fundamental, constitutional property rights?

The Arizona Appeals Court heard oral argument yesterday in a case involving Winchell's Donut franchisee Edward Salib.  Mesa officials have repeatedly cited Mr. Salib for violating the city's sign ordinance.  His crime involves hanging professionally produced posters in his storefront windows. With the help of the Institute for Justice, he filed a lawsuit challenging the ordinance. 

Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini wants to call a spade a spade, but instead of unearthing the facts, his analysis throws up a lot of dirt about Arizona private schools.

In an Arizona Republic article, reporter Justin Juozapavicius explains how the Mormon Church and Dennis Barney, a private developer, are slowing turning around a drug-infested Mesa neighborhood.

An environmental expert has contradicted the City of Tempe's claim that the only way to clean up property at a proposed commercial development site is to condemn private property. In other words, Tempe's use of the despotic power of eminent domain is not about cleaning up the environment. Instead, as we've suspected all along, Tempe is using eminent domain as a tool for economic redevelopment, which is prohibited by the Arizona Constitution (Art. 2, sect. 17).

Pages