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Friday, July 01, 2005

House Votes To Undercut High Court On Property

House Votes To Undercut High Court On Property:

The House voted yesterday to use the spending power of Congress to undermine a Supreme Court ruling allowing local governments to force the sale of private property for economic development purposes. Key members of the House and Senate vowed to take even broader steps soon. Last week's 5 to 4 decision has drawn a swift and visceral backlash from an unusual coalition of conservatives concerned about property rights and liberals worried about the effect on poor people, whose property is often vulnerable to condemnation because it does not generate a lot of revenue. The House measure, which passed 231 to 189, would deny federal funds to any city or state project that used eminent domain to force people to sell their property to make way for a profit-making project such as a hotel or mall. Historically, eminent domain has been used mainly for public purposes such as highways or airports.
This strikes me as a pretty good response to Kelo. While I am leary of the use of Federal Funds to compell States and Municipalities to follow Federal Guidlines, this particular Bill seems narrowly focused on the specific problem (it isn't all funds for example, just funding for any project that uses eminent domain in this way.) (via Vodkapundit where Will Collier also trashes Pelosi's response to this Bill.)


Blogger honestpartisan said...

I think that this is a salutary effect of the Kelo decision. The Court didn't say that democratic majorities couldn't do anything, it said they wouldn't stop democratic majorities from doing something. My preferred remedy is democratic, and since I'm personally against the use of eminent domain for these sorts of things, the House bill sounds like a good idea from what little I've read about it so far.

For this reason, I also agree with the criticism of Nancy Pelosi that you link to.

7/01/2005 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger The probligo said...

I opined over at http://www.newamericanrevolution.us/?postid=552 that there seemed to me to be two things wrong, that allowed Kelo to happen in the first place.

What this DOES show, for me at least is -
* The law relating to the "taking" of private property by local and national government is defective.

* The law governing the business and financial relationships between public body and private citizen is defective. Remember that a corporation is a "person" for the purposes of the law...

In brief, NZ law does not permit a public (that is government, local government, or government corporation) body to take land for other than public purposes. Those purposes are clearly defined. The law also requires any land not used for the specified purpose to be offered to the original owners for first refusal.

The process is long, it is transparent at every stage, and the rights of both land owners and the wider public are extensive. This for starters would have prevented any prospect of "taking land over eminent domain" for an office block, even for its own use.

Urban renewal in this country is governed through planning control, local tax incentives, and the control of building standards. A local authority can require repair or even demolition if a building is in real bad shape, it can not just move in and do it.

NZ law does allow business relationships between public corporation and private, as in a hotel for example... However the relationship must be openly accounted and governance made public.

So rather than attacking SCOTUS, I would be pushing very hard for the law to be changed to better control such deals in future and to give better recognition to the rights of eminent domain.

But then I also understand that that is the kind of law that many Americans want shot of...


7/01/2005 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger GaijinBiker said...

Can you imagine if Bush had given Pelosi's response? We'd never hear the end of it.

I don't expect Democrats will be too troubled by Pelosi's utter cluelessness, however.

7/05/2005 04:57:00 PM  

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