Of Course Eminent Domain Can Be Used To Provide Land For The Wall

Yesterday, Sarah Quinlan posted on these pages an article entitled, “Trump Is Wrong To Abuse Government Power And Eminent Domain For His Wall.”

Her introductory paragraph:

Donald Trump has long been a fan of eminent domain — as an Atlantic City casino owner (before his casino failed), he attempted to use state power to forces an elderly widow out of her home. Today, as president of the United States, he took his support for eminent domain one step further.

During today’s Rose Garden press conference regarding a border wall, Trump admitted he was open to the idea of circumventing Congress by declaring a national emergency. He also brought up “the military version of eminent domain” but did not clarify what he meant, leaving people unsure if he was suggesting building the wall by using the United States military to invade southern states in order to seize private property from citizens.

She goes on to say, “Trump’s willingness to declare a national emergency in order to circumvent Congress is a disturbing overreach of executive power.”

However, her next assertion, is where she gets things exactly—backwards (emphasis mine)

It’s not entirely clear what Trump meant by “the military version of eminent domain.” Per Reason, “federal law does allow for military department secretaries to ‘acquire any interest in land’ if ‘the acquisition is needed in the interest of national defense.’ But defining building a wall on the southern border as an issue of national defense is a stretch.”

Earlier in her piece, she expresses justifiable outrage at businessman Trump’s use of eminent domain to capture real estate and those make it a greater tax generator. In this she is correct.

If President Trump directed DOD to “acquire any interest in land,” it deemed necessary in order to provide the necessary footprint for barriers and offset/easement, such acquisition, would be exactly the kind of thing the Founders envisioned that eminent domain could and should be used for. A “stretch” Madam? I think not.


Late Edit: It appears IRS Refunds will go out after all.