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Looking at Crazy Laws that Are Also Scary Laws!

October 31, 2015

Any level-headed citizen tends to think of the law as a means to protect the people and maintain a functioning society, but there are some laws on the books that may be a bit surprising and counterintuitive in terms of preserving the greater good. Many of these laws are the result of Supreme Court decisions made decades ago that have simply never been overturned. As a consequence, it is possible to suffer a strange and unfortunate fate that may involve some of the following scary situations.

Eminent domain

It’s a terrifying reality that any home or business owner at any given time can be asked, or rather forced, to vacate their property and sell it to the highest bidder. Or, more realistically, the only bidder offering a non-negotiable price for the property. While this often takes place to improve and expand public lands, the laws of eminent domain actually go a step further and allow corporations to step in and purchase whatever land they seek, even if people already live and do business there. A 2005 Supreme Court ruling determined that local governments can essentially sell off land to any corporation that demands it so long as the price is right. Unfortunately, the profits are not often passed along to property owners.

Racial imprisonment

Among the darker chapters in American history is the internment of Japanese-American citizens during WWII, which took place for fear of Japanese espionage, which famously did not occur at any point during the war. In the case of Korematsu v. United States, it was determined that an entire race of American citizens could be imprisoned should they pose a legitimate threat to national security. The law has never been taken off the books, but it has actually been used to influence more positive laws that discourage discrimination, such as desegregation of schools.

Toxic waste dumping

Despite the Clean Water Act, which intended to protect drinking water from the dumping of toxic waste in fresh water sources by mining companies, it is still perfectly legal to dump toxic waste when it is given the right label. One huge loophole that exists in this act is states that “fill material” can be dumped into fresh water areas to create a damn, and, as history has demonstrated in Kensington, Alaska, “fill material” can mean just about anything—including poisonous toxic waste.

This article is part of a collection of The Most Ridiculous Laws in the United States! Some of these laws are downright hard to believe. Do you know what might be illegal in your state?

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