Eminent Domain – Main Video Preview
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Eminent Domain – Main Video Preview

(Music) CARRA: “A man’s home is his castle.”
Okay, I know it sounds kind of cliché, but for anyone who actually owns a home, it really
is true. Homeowners take great pride in the fact that
they can do whatever they want with their homes without interference from anyone else,
including the government. But are they right? In fact, there’s something in the constitution
called eminent domain that gives governments the power to take your property even if you
don’t want to sell. (Music) PERSON ON STREET: Eminent Domain? PERSON ON STREET: Define Eminent Domain? PERSON ON STREET: Eminent Domain? PERSON ON STREET: I’m going to let him speak
first. PERSON ON STREET: (Blank look, says nothing) PERSON ON STREET: Like this is mine right
here right now. PERSON ON STREET: (Blank look, says nothing) PERSON ON STREET: Do you know what eminent
domain is? PERSON ON STREET: Is that where the government
can take what they want? PERSON ON STREET: Is that like Eminem, like
“Eminem’s Domain?” PERSON ON STREET: Eminent Domain is the concept
that allows the government to take property and pay you for it. CARRA: The Founding Fathers wanted to create
a nation of free people, and they wrote the Constitution to protect individual rights
from government power. The Founders believed that one of the most important individual
rights is the right to own property. But the Founders also made an exception to
this rule. The 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that governments may take private property,
but only under certain conditions—the property must be put to a “public use,” and the
property owners must be provided “just compensation.” This practice is called “eminent domain.” An example of this is the construction of
the Interstate Highway System. Eminent domain was used extensively whenever property owners
would refuse to sell their property to the government. Throughout most of our country’s history,
local governments have used the power of eminent domain to take private property in order to
convert the property to “public uses” like schools, hospitals and roads. But in the 1950s, the city of Washington,
DC made plans to use eminent domain for a different reason. The city wanted to force
out property owners and tear down old buildings and houses in order to build a nicer community. Some property owners objected, arguing that
this kind of urban renewal project was not a legitimate “public use.” In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court voted in favor
of the city, and Washington, D.C. officials used eminent domain to rebuild the run-down
neighborhood from scratch. Ever since then, governments have used eminent
domain for more than just “public uses” like roads and schools; they’ve also used
eminent domain to transfer property from one private owner to another private owner, in
the name of “economic development.”

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