Legislative Changes & Gideon J. Tucker: Navigating Legal Battles With Diligent Watchfulness - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1916 Words
Date:  2023-05-22


"No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the Legislature is in session" is a famous sentiment of Gideon J. Tuckers, a legislator and lawyer who presided over a hotly contested case of a deceased man estate in 1866 (Abbot 189). Notably, the legal battle arose due to the legislative changes of diligent watchfulness, as Tucker mentions. In sum, someone had violated the law, not knowing that the law had changed recently. Concerning legislative changes, his point is significant and creates public interest and curiosity when legislations are made or changes are made at a fast pace with no public participation and awareness of the ongoing changes. Tucker, therefore, tries to create a perception of jeopardizing the liberty of the public by what he terms as a 'transparent government activity.' (Abbot 189). Such activities are capable of undermining public rights, including property rights. Therefore, through the incorporation of Johnny's 356-acre fruit orchard case, the paper aims to analyze and explore the extent of state activities while acting and affecting private property virtue in respect to its police power, is under obligation to compensate the owners for the damages caused for its actions and whether Johnny's case was a taking under the state's right of eminent domain, which necessitates a compensation or a taking under the state's police powers requiring no compensation. (https://www.deseret.com/2014/3/30/20538390/the-importance-of-paying-attention.)

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The Concept of Property and Police Power and Eminent Domain

Notably, the paper takes stance that Johnny's scenario was under the right of eminent domain; hence, the plaintiff should be compensated for the damages. However, it is significant first to understand the concept of property and police power to determine the limits of state activities on privately owned property. The property comprises legal facts, including two relationships. The first relationship is between the owner and the subject under consideration or the 'thing' owned (res), which is a non-legal in that, the property owners have the powers to use his property (Abbot 195). For instance, in the case of Johnny, who had been using his property, all the years without any interference from the state or other body. He has been using his 356-acre land to plant fruits and, he has the rights and powers to do anything with the land, including selling or leasing. The second relationship exists between the society and the owner of the property, which forms a legal basis on the rights and use of the property. The relationship entails such clauses specifying that no form of interference should occur between the property owner and the subject of his ownership. Notably, the property may be limited in multiple ways; however, when complete or full, it forms a non-legal element in that the owners have the power to use the property according to his judgment and capabilities. Therefore, any damage to the property would warrant compensation by the defendant, and so does the case of Johnny.

Police power has got multiple definitions as described by many judges and writers in an attempt to suit the associated and current circumstances. However, these definitions are focused on a central theme of criticism since all that; the police does do not seem to be based on well-structured criteria. (Abbot 198). In all forms of government, including the Federal and State, the police are expected to perform their duties, which is to provide the overall safety of property and to promote the general welfare of the people. In Johnny's situation, the police did not protect the Orchard from being flood, and the overall welfare of Johnny has been no doubt deteriorated with the own action of government who ought to have protected him from such loss. It is, therefore, worthwhile that he be compensated for the damages he incurred. The government should protect its citizens from wrong human activities and physical danger and should ensure that the proper welfare of the people is promoted with the main objective of improving living standards. To indemnify Johnny back to his initial welfare or living standard status, a relative compensation is worth if the objectives of the government are to be followed.

The Concept of Eminent Domain and Grounds of Compensating Johnny

American citizen enjoys the right to liberty, life, and property legal property ownership with undue government or state interference. However, the government or the state may take or interfere with the property depending on the current circumstance with or without permission while protecting the interest of the majority (Benson and Matthew 149). The state did not have to consult Johnny for any person since the water from the dam was released to protect the lives of many people as compared to the damages a single person could be subjected to. Taking into consideration the reason for erecting the dam, it was for the best interest of the majority in creating jobs and stimulate overall economic development. The same objective should be applicable in case contingent circumstances putting the life of the majority of people at risk. Eminent domain is a governmental power to take private property, land to be in particular under certain circumstances, tucker at some point illustrated that the taking on the land also entails an interference with private property. For instance, in the case of Johnny, the government did not physically take the land but interfered with his land. Therefore, it is more than certain that, when the legislature, which represents the government is in session, then no one's property, liberty, and life is safe (Benson and Matthew 152). The power of eminent domain is documented and illustrated by the 'Taking clause' of the fifth amendment of the United States constitution, and it stipulates that the government should not take private property with commensurate compensation.

Therefore, when the legislature was in 'taking' concerning releasing the water from the dam, it was for the best interest of the majority of the population. However, every citizen of the state is important, and their compensation package ought to have been taken into consideration of the possible consequences the dam may cause of private property. Hence Johnny deserves compensation. Notably, the clause and power apply to both local and state governments through the fourth amendment of the constitution. However, the clause does not give the government to interfere or take with any private land it wants without a determination that the taking or interference was for the best interest of the public majority. Therefore, it is worth noting that the clause serves as a limit on the activities of the government and its officials for taking the land for public use and to issue compensation to the owners of the land, including monetary and relocation compensations. The most obvious care of the government is to ensure the security of every citizen, and Johnny is not an exemption. Moreover, the government should be at the front line to ensure that a remedy of a breach or past actions into the invasion of a citizen's right is taken care of. Hence, Johnny should be compensated for the damages caused in his Orchard. Ideally, the plaintiff(Johnny) should not even make any attempts of suing the government for the actions for the compensation, the legislature (defendant) should be more than willing to follow the laws of the land and compensate for the cause of the damage which would return Johnny to his previous welfare and living standard status. Improving the living standards of the citizens is also one of the main objectives of the government. Hence, to stay on track of achieving full compliance in achieving the objective, such compensation to Johnny must take its cause.

Ideally, the act of the government is right, to release the water since it would have caused more damages to more people than a single person Johnny, however, Johnny right to liberty, property, and life is also protected by the constitution and hence it is worth taking into account the consequences of government action on majority while also considering the effects on minority groups or the person (Benson and Matthew 161). When the government acquires private land, this is known as "taking," which contrasts to seizure that occurs when the property owner commits certain crimes. Notably, different kinds of taking exist, including the partial, full, and complete taking of property. A complete taking occurs when the government has purchased the entire land or property. In contrast, partial taking applies to a portion of the land being used by the government and temporary taking when the property is needed for a given period. The land of Johnny is a clear demonstration of partial property taking and interference. Notably, all these takings warrant compensation of the property owner, and thus Johnny should be compensated for the damages he incurred on his Orchard. Notably, it is worth noting that the word 'taking' includes more than just a property acquisition, it has a wide scope and covers governmental and states actions that impact of the land in some way, that may change the normal way of using the private property(Benson and Matthew 161). Johnny's case does not involve the physical taking of the land by involves interference on his land. Thus he cannot use his Orchard in his usual way after the flooding, and thus the government should compensate Johnny for the damages caused during the year.

If the state or local government is planning for public works or erection of projects including dams as in the case of Johnny, which may lead to interference of private property when certain contingency arises, the government through the legislation should conduct a legal process to evaluate the implications of the projects both pros and corn. In the case of erecting the dam, the pros were to create employment, provision of electricity, and to provide recreational services for the best interest of the public. The legal process is known as condemnation, which has got basic steps despite variation from state to state. Notably, the negative implications of the project must also be considered and the possible consequences of the life and property of the individuals. Therefore, during the session, the legislature or the government ought to have factored in and foreseen such implications, and thus Johnny should be compensated for the damages on his Orchard. Therefore, the eminent domain was evident under the scenario of Johnny, and thus he is worth compensation. For the eminent clause to prevail, the government must ascertain that the project was for the interest of the public, and thus interference or taking purchase is worth it. A clear definition of 'public use' must be ascertained, and some of the projects related to public use include transportation, government building, and structures related to water, including dam construction.


In conclusion, it is indeed that no life, property, and liberty rights of the individual are safe when the legislature is in session. The sentiments can be evident from Johnny's case since the government has the right to acquire or interfere with private property ownership for the best interest of the public. However, commensurate compensation should be given to the property owner. Notably, just like the government can sue the owner for refusing for such interference or taking over the private property, the private property owner should also sue the state for not paying compensation. However, the compensation must prevail under the clause of eminent domain, and thus Johnny is entitled to compensation.

Works Cited

Abbot, Everett V. "The Police Power and the Right to Compensation." Harvard Law Review, vol. 3, no. 5, 2014, p. 189-202

Benson, Bruce L., and Matthew Brown. "Eminent Do...

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Legislative Changes & Gideon J. Tucker: Navigating Legal Battles With Diligent Watchfulness - Essay Sample. (2023, May 22). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/legislative-changes-gideon-j-tucker-navigating-legal-battles-with-diligent-watchfulness-essay-sample

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