Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Attractive Nuisance Laws

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the simple fact that the U.S. Constitution is the Supreme Law for the United States. Article VI makes it plain that every federal, state, and community law must be constitutional in order to survive any court challenges.

 This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

            Each state seems to have its own laws concerning the attractive nuisance doctrine. This doctrine has seen many court challenges and has been declared constitutional. The liability, of course, is determined by the circumstances of each case. The Legal Information Institute (LII) at the Cornell Law School defines this doctrine as follows. 

A doctrine in tort law under which a landowner may be liable for injuries to children who trespass on land if the injury results from a hazardous object or condition on the land that is likely to attract children who are unable to appreciate the risk posed by the object or condition.

            In plain language, the paragraph above says that anyone who owns land can be liable for injuries for anything that they have on their land that could be enticing to trespassing children.  I learned through research that these items or conditions can vary from swimming pools to trampolines to iron turntables used by railroads to reroute trains. My daughter and her husband put a swimming pool on their property and installed a fence around the property for liability purposes. A long-time friend and her husband got rid of their trampoline for liability reasons because they did not want to fence their large amount of property. I wonder if the beautiful, clear water lake behind their home could be considered an attractive nuisance! It probably is not their liability because it is most likely to be considered state or community property. A railroad was declared liable in 1873 for injuries to a young boy while playing on their turntable.

            I knew of the attractive nuisance doctrine, but I had never connected it to the need for a barrier along our southern border until I read an article by Thomas Lifson. He connected the two ideas and declared that the United States is now an attractive nuisance to migrant children. 

It is clear that life in the United States is so attractive to people from many foreign nations that they are willing to take grave risks for themselves and their children in order to enter without waiting through the process of legal immigration….

It is clear that, like a homeowner who must fence his swimming pool to prevent children of others from falling in and drowning, the U.S. must erect a wall on our border before more children are lured into danger by the attractive nuisance of life in the United States.

            Apparently, the United States has now become an attractive nuisance to children from other nations. Two children recently died after crossing the southern U.S. border illegally. They were attracted to life in the United States, but they lost their lives in the process of obtaining their dreams. It stands to reason that the United States should be required to fence their property – i.e. the entire southern border – to protect migrant children who are trespassing on American property. The sooner the wall is built, the quicker the liability will decrease. This seems to be an excellent reason to build the wall!

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