PROPERTY RIGHTS AND THE POWER OF THE STATE


Our system of government provides for individuals the right to hold ownership to real estate utilizing the legal concept known as “fee simple ownership”. Yet, our

system of government also provides for taxation on real estate holdings, eminent domain and police powers to establish rules, regulations, ordinances and zoning as it

relates to real estate.

What is “fee simple” ownership? What role does the government have to “police” our property rights, that is, to establish ordinances to regulate property appearance

and conditions, property line setbacks, grass and weed control, trash or hazardous materials, abandon motor vehicles or the parking of RVs in the front yard. What is

the role of a community zoning plan? Why allow zoning in the first place?

And finally, what is your opinion on the issue of eminent domain as it pertains to your right to protect your property keeping in mind that the power of eminent domain

is enumerated in the US Constitution? (It might be helpful to review James Madison’s writings in THE FEDERALIST PAPERS on the subject of eminent domain) It may also be

helpful to review other US Supreme Court rulings prior to the Kelo case that addressed eminent domain.) What role did the Kelo case (US Supreme Court ruling) play in

the state’s legislatures redefining the concept of eminent domain?

Sample Solution

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