David Ganje: Reforms needed in North Dakota's eminent domain law

David Ganje

A closer look at North Dakota’s Condemnation Law
By David Ganje
For The Native Sun News Today

This is the second of two articles discussing eminent domain law in both South Dakota and North Dakota.

This article will address several problems with North Dakota condemnation law. The use of eminent domain (condemnation) is a modern legal problem.

Condemnation is the taking of property for a public or, in some cases, private interest. Condemnation is a legally sanctioned sword.

My argument is not that eminent domain as a concept is wrong, but that in its present state as a legal vehicle attempting to provide fairness, eminent domain is in need of repair on both sides. This law allows a governmental body — and a private business — to convert privately owned land to another use, often over the objections of the landowner.

Traditionally in a legal taking a landowner receives “market value” for the land taken. This often includes money for reduction in agriculture output or for the loss of other productive use of the land.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor famously said in her dissent to a private taking condemnation case, “The specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory.”

One local North Dakota government official said it aptly. Regarding action to condemn property he said it is better to look at condemnation through our local eyes rather than through the developers’ egos.

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: A closer look at North Dakota’s Condemnation Law

(David Ganje practices law in the area of natural resources, environmental and commercial law. His website is Lexenergy.net)

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David Ganje: South Dakota needs to reform eminent domain law (01/10)

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