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This Week: Eminent Domain
This Week
June 24, 2005

This week on NOW:

For years, the government has used the power of eminent domain to take private property for so-called "public uses," things like building roads, schools, and police stations. But today, cash-strapped cities and towns are arguing that the economic benefits of private development are a legitimate "public use," and they're using eminent domain to force people out of their homes to make way for casinos, condos, and shopping malls. On Thursday, the US Supreme Court decided that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses against their will for private development. The decision has far-reaching consequences in communities around the nation where some familiesí homes are slated for destruction. The report examines what some have called "an unholy alliance" between financially stressed cities and eager developers that is endangering the rights of homeowners across the country

Members of Congress from both parties are now calling for an independent investigation into possible abuses at Guantanamo. But even with the painful lessons learned from Abu Ghraib, the White House says "no." Civil rights crusader and regular NOW contributor Constance Rice says that there are parallels between the treatment of prisoners in American prisons, those in Abu Ghraib, and the prison camp at Guantanamo that are instructive. "Am I saying that our prisons are as bad as Abu Ghraib? No," she says. "But do we have conditions that are illegal, unconstitutional and cruel and unusual? Yes."

In Depth

Cutouts of Women

Private Property, Eminent Domain and the Supreme Court

Eminent Domain History

State Court Map

Prison Guard Tower

Constance Rice

Prisons in America

Guantanamo, the Supreme Court and Prisoner Rights


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Read the complete transcript.

Streaming Video

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Land Grab (15:35)

David Brancaccio talks with Constance Rice (6:57)


Land Grab
Producer: William Brangham
Editor: Larry Goldfine

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