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SD Supreme Court: No Moral, Legal Right to “Stand Aloof” from Your Community

While reading Spearfish's 2012 Annexation Study (fuller story coming up Sunday morning!), I came upon an interesting passage from Smith vs. City of Rapid City, a 1981 case that went to the South Dakota Supreme Court. The passage below appears to be standard boilerplate for municipal annexation studies: I find it in numerous annexation documents from Sioux Falls (2012, 2011, 2002, 2001).

But our Supreme Court's statement puts the expansion of city limits in the context of a larger theme here on the blog, recognizing the benefits we receive and the obligations that arise from living in (or right next to!) community:

...the people and property owners of an area proposed for annexation have neither the moral nor legal right to stand aloof from the incorporated community of which they are a de facto part, enjoying most of the benefits, but disclaiming their duty to participate in providing these essential services [South Dakota Supreme Court, Smith v. City of Rapid City, cited in Annexation Study of Upper and Lower Valley, City of Spearfish, April 2, 2012]

Interesting: you can go live in the woods if you want. But if you choose to live in civilization and enjoy the roads, schools, and security provided by government, you don't get to dodge taxes. That sounds like the social contract to me. What do you think, privatizing Republican friends?


  1. MC 2012.08.25

    What makes you think that Republicans are against paying taxes for roads, schools, police and fire protection?

    What gets Republicans upset is when taxes are paid for new roads, and that money is shifted to support some wild mouse. or forced to support a family that otherwise should be self-supporting.

  2. Justin 2012.08.25

    Irony, you magnificent force.

  3. Dave 2012.08.25

    MC: Your statement is bizarre. Can you cite an instance where state or federal highway dollars have been raided (or to use your terminology, "forced") to feed a hungry family or, um, a wild mouse??

  4. Donald Pay 2012.08.25

    That quote is from the Smith opinion, but it is actually the SD Supreme Court quoting the Tennessee Supreme Court.

    It is interesting that the Smith decision actually went against the City of Rapid City on procedural issues.

  5. Ken Blanchard 2012.08.25

    Cory: do you get to stand aloof if you don't want a pipeline running across your land? I seem to remember that that is your position.

  6. Justin 2012.08.25

    Cory a pro eminent domain Keystone XL guy?

    Why does that sound fishy?

  7. Donald Pay 2012.08.26

    There is a vast legal difference between annexation and a "taking" by a private entity for a purpose that has no public benefit.

  8. LK 2012.08.26

    Mr. Pay dances around the question,so I'll just ask Dr. Blanchard directly: Was Kelo correctly decided?

  9. Douglas Wiken 2012.08.26

    About those benefits from being adjacent to a town or city. Here they seem to only mean that somebody with a 4-wheel drive pickup enjoys ripping and rutting rural roads when they are wet or their kids thinking it is smart to smash rural mailboxes or use them for target practice.

    I wish courts with such ideas of sharing would look at city sales taxes which penalize non-residents for having the audacity to shop there.

    XL pipeline is a bummer idea no matter on who's land it crosses or which aquifer or river. It is designed to raise the price of gasoline in the central US.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.08.26

    Ken, I maintain my opposition to Keystone XL. I see no way in which the court's statement on standing aloof from the community relates to, let alone contradicts, my position thereupon. I'm engaging and protecting my community from the intrusion of a foreign corporation on our property rights and environmental security. Donald summarizes the difference nicely: annexation is not an application of eminent domain.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.08.26

    LK: Kelo v. New London was decided terribly by our liberal friends on the court. Shame on them.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.08.26

    Plus, Ken, how by opposing Keystone XL's use of eminent domain am I "disclaiming [my]"duty to participate in providing [the] essential services" of the community?

  13. LK 2012.08.26


    I totally agree. It is the second worst decision in my lifetime. I still want to hear Blanchard's response.

  14. Ken Blanchard 2012.08.26

    Cory: the public benefit claimed for the Keystone Pipeline is obvious. You may think that the costs outweigh the benefits. So can someone stand aloof if they don't agree with the proposal? That would work whether the issue is eminent domain or annexation.

    You seem to be arguing here against the very idea of eminent domain. I have asked you before and have never gotten an answer: does the government have no right to seize private property to protect wetlands? If you say no, you would be consistent. My libertarian friends would welcome you to the fold. If you say yes, your position is essentially that government can seize property when you want it to.

  15. John 2012.08.27

    The senior property holder is the sovereign, we the people, the only true property "owners". All others merely hold title to first conditional use. Eminent domain is [supposed to be] restricted to public use. Not private profit. Not socializing costs while privatizing profits. Not to increase tax revenue from a fanciful private Taj Mahal-like convention complex. Congressional debate on the takings clause was almost non-existent, largely it is thought because the language was proposed very late in the drafting of the constitution and delegates were exhausted. The scant debate centered around, do we need this, or it can't hurt. Historically no compensation was offered or requested for takings for over 50 years from adoption of the constitution. It is thought that was a result of the community nature of the early republic, as in, 'we are all in this together' - an attitude long since trampled be the capitalists, 'what's in it for me?'

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.08.27

    Ken, eminent domain has its place. (I think I've said that, but I'm content to repeat myself.) To claim that Keystone XL serves a public purposes stretches the concept too far. The pipeline is a private conduit serving no direct public purpose.

    I'm still not clear how the "standing aloof" analogizes here. How practically do you envision someone "standing aloof" from Keystone XL if it is built? Every citizen has a right to oppose a proposal, to fight its formal adoption. That is not what the Supreme Court is talking about in Smith v City of Rapid.

  17. larry kurtz 2012.08.27

    Pat: how revolting to read you this morning.

    RNC rejected Ron Paul's speech: insane son, Rand to deliver white supremacist rant:

  18. larry kurtz 2012.08.27

    "Julie" posted at Bernie's nearly simultaneously: what a surprise.

  19. Steve Sibson 2012.08.27

    "but disclaiming their duty to participate in providing these essential services"

    Essential services does not include bike paths or event centers.

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.08.27

    Robert, you're doing the Julie Gross (NE) thing, trying to pull us to your preferred talking points. Enlighten us. Mitt Romney made pretty clear he wants to spend less on teachers, police, and firemen. I take time to learn what the GOP advocates, and it stinks. Show us otherwise with evidence, not your smug quips.

  21. Donald Pay 2012.08.27

    KB's question above regarding use of eminent domain for wetlands protection is an interesting one. I am not aware of any case where eminent domain has been used to protect wetlands absent the wetland being part of a larger flood control project to protect other public or private property (eg., protecting New Orleans from storm surges). In South Dakota, I am aware that several water development projects (Oahe and Cendak) intended to use eminent domain to mitigate wetland losses.

    Generally wetlands are protected through various swampbuster provisions of the Ag bill, through various permitting requirements of the state and federal government when wetlands are destroyed or modified and through sales by willing sellers.

  22. Justin 2012.08.27

    How is this going to accrue to the advantage of the state of SD? We've abated every tax they could ever possibly pay even though we didn't need to. We have no income tax.

    So other than, nothing, what exactly do we have to gain?

    It is the biggest question that needs to be answered about our "large business development fund". If this is it, we don't need it. We didn't need it. Logic would tell a rational person if it is going through ND and NE and they didn't give public assistance, the state of low taxation didn't have any business interest in doing what we did.

    The way individual farmers and ranchers from SD to Texas have been snowed under by big oil on this project is embarrassing. Despite states' individual laws requiring a legitimate negotiation, they have no ability to counter and are left with a nasty contingent liability. Trees? They don't grow back on top of pipelines, even if they were allowed.

    We live in a state where we can't drive from East to West in our most populous city because we won't exercise ED on the golf courses. BUT if it gives us clout somewhere, we will basically forego all future taxes in order to stand up united against the President on an issue. It's just a few lesser populated counties anyway.

    The way the ED issue has been handled project-wide has been an absolute affront to libertarians, no doubt. Or anybody that appreciates their civil liberties.

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.08.28

    A few conservatives, Justin, have shown some consistency and opposed Keystone XL's affront to local property rights. But not in South Dakota, where it seems Keystone XL turns every conservative into a communitarian.

  24. larry kurtz 2012.11.20

    Weird: SD GOP twitterverse is creepily quiet.

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