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Monday, April 03, 2006

Supreme Court Slaps State Ports Authority Like it Stole Somethin'

Some good news for the South Carolina economy ...

FITS has learned that the pseudo-socialist defenders of the status quo at the S.C. State Ports Authority (SPA) have suffered a crushing defeat in a highly-anticipated ruling released today by the South Carolina Supreme Court.

In today's groundbreaking ruling, the Court determined that Jasper County was not only within its legal rights to condemn property along the Savannah River for port construction, but also has "the power and authority to create a county-owned public marine terminal" there as well.

The "My-Way-Or-The-Highway" Marxist-Leninists at the SPA were insisting on their exclusive right to condemn and construct on both questions, part of a long-held "total state control" philosophy that has set South Carolina back decades on port expansion.

This was a long-awaited ruling that will have monumental economic reverberations for the entire State of South Carolina ... stay tuned to FITS throughout the afternoon for complete analysis.

13 Comments:

Blogger Mike Reino said...

Good news. Jasper has the space and location advantages needed. I'm not a big fan of the inland ports idea going around - too much expense by railing the cargo to another location.

3:16 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great news for jasper county. they have been fighting this fight for years.

3:51 PM

 
Anonymous Daniel said...

FITS' crack legal staff might want to ask Phoenix University Online School of Law for their money back.

The Supreme Court's affirmance of the County's legal authority to operate a port was the legal equivalent of saying "Communism is a good idea in theory."

Does Jasper County have the legal right to operate a port? Yes.

Do they have the legal right to condemn the land to do it? Yes.

But when they do, the SPA has the right to step in and take the land from Jasper County. That's the only important ruling from the court today on a practical level.

Now that the court has said that SPA has the ultimate authority to open and run the port if they want to (and ostensibly they still do), the real question is whether the County will step out of the way and let the state negotiate with Georgia, or whether they'll be stubborn and proceed with condemnation - making the process more painful and expensive for everyone, including the taxpayers.

4:06 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daniel- Didn't know the 500K worth of loyalty the SPA bought when it hired Nelson Mullins to represent it in this case extended to their former summer interns as well.

2:06 PM

 
Anonymous Daniel said...

"anonymous":

I gotta eat, man!

2:48 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait a second, Daniel, you're saying the county should step out of the way so that the state ports authority can move forward on a port on the savannah river? And you're saying Jasper County is the party that's being stubborn?

Holy cow, kid.

With all due respect to the wonderful legal tradition up at the University of Virginia, you are obviously reading the Kevin Hall response points to the ruling and not the ruling itself.

Jasper won, Nelson Mullins lost, and the only people who see it differently are either working for the Ports Authority or your former law firm.

2:49 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, one of the state's top (and most respected) property law lawyers told me the same thing. Basically, both the county and the SPA have rights, but the Court said that the SPA has "more" rights.

2:56 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daniel,

If Jaspar County completes the condemnation proceedings or Georgia DOT accepts their offer on the property then when SPA attempts to condemn the property, the SPA will have to pay for the value of the site as a port site rather than a waste slurry/dredge storage site site that Georgia has been using it as.

In other words, Jaspar county's actions will raise the property value beyond the level that the SPA can effectively compensate Jaspar county. Thus, the condemnation will not proceed. If you look at the strings of condemnation cases, i.e. the Greenville cases, juries have been awarding money up the ying yang. SPA has no recourse because of this ruling because condemnation of a future port site with a 600m price tag is a little out of the SPA's budget.

Sorry.

3:04 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daniel,

This ruling affirmed the power of Jaspar county to move ahead with its planned development of the port. As part of that plan, Jaspar was closing to coming to a deal with Georgia DOT on the sale of the site for the port. Georgia DOT had been using the site as a slurry/dredge storage or reclamation site.

With the court ruling, SPA's only recourse is to exercise their more powerful condemnation powers over Jaspar county to seize the site from the county. If SPA does exercise their power, it is most likely that the site will be valued as a future port site and not as a dredge storage site. Such a valuation would put the condemnation out of reach of the SPA. For better or worse Jaspar county currently has the upperhand.

As for whether the SPA or Jaspar county has the superior claim to the better ability to run the port, I will let y'all decide. Personally, the SPA sat on their hands for too long on the issue, and when suddenly, the county got "uppity" the SPA feared its monopoly on ports would be broken so it sued. I think Jaspar county has forged some great stratgeic alliances to build the port and have shown a willingness to run the port with all of the goods and bads that come with it. Thats more than I can say for the SPA. Of course time will tell if county government actually has the skill to run something as complex as a port.

This is home rule at its best folks. Deal with it.

3:27 PM

 
Anonymous Daniel said...

Let me ask this. Most of the comments have centered around a premised series of events where Jasper condemns the land, then SPA condemns it from them.

But what if SPA just moves forward with condemnation now? Wouldn't that avoid the problems you've outlined?

I ask this seriously, as there are obviously a lot of very informed folks posting on this here.

Also, not that I care whether you are anonymous or not, but with 4 people posting as anon it gets a little confusing as to whether it's the same person or not. Just make up a name and use it.

8:58 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daniel-

No. The county has already filed the condemnation against the Jasper County port site. Such is not postulation or a supposition upon which the other arguments rest, but fact. One of the first things taught at the Phoenix University Online School of Law is that title is legally vested in the condemnor upon its filing of the condemnation petition and its tender of compensation to the clerk of court. Is that not taught until the third year at UVA Law School?

9:33 AM

 
Anonymous Daniel said...

I admit my knowledge of property law is limited, but upon what authority do you base your assertion that title is legally vested in the condemnor upon its filing of the condemnation petition and its tender of compensation to the clerk of court? Is that in the eminent domain procedures act, because if so, I don't see it. Isn't that a stautory feature?

9:10 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jasper county- moral victory
spa- real win

4:48 PM

 

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