Eminent Domain


 Libertarians believe that the government should not be able to take your property and give it to someone else.

The constitution allows for eminent domain in instances where the appropriation serves a public use, and the owner is provided a "just compensation." However, the government now believes that enterprises which generate higher tax revenues serve a "public use." As a result, or simply because they can benefit personally, they often seize private property and grant it to large, politically connected businesses. The Libertarian Party of Nevada does not believe that a society designed to maximize tax revenue is in the public interest.

Eminent Domain is an increasing problem in Nevada. Libertarians feel that local governments abuse this power. The government often condemns property that they want to seize, or takes other measures to drive down the "market price," which they refer to as "just compensation." In most cases they have paid less than the market price. In the best of circumstances, "market price" compensation does not factor the owner's subjective value into its calculation. The government has used various justifications to enforce "civil asset forfeiture," where they have seized citizens' money or property under the burden only of "probable cause," putting the burden of proof on victims to prove innocence if they want to recover their assets. In some cases, the legal expenses can approach or even exceed the value of the stolen property.

Worse, police abuse of civil asset forfeiture laws has turned due process on its head. Civil forfeiture allows police to seize — and then keep or sell — any property they allege is involved in a crime. Owners need not ever be arrested or convicted of a crime for their cash, cars, or even real estate to be taken away permanently by the government. The government is not required to prove anything at all--the burden of proof falls entirely on the accused--when the victims have the resources to try to recover their property at all. Police departments use forfeiture to benefit their bottom lines, making seizures simple theft, rather than serving any crime-fighting purpose.