Thursday, July 28, 2005

House bill introduced to address eminent domain

A new bill's been introduced on the Hill that seeks to repair the damage done by the Supreme Court's ill-considered Kelo ruling. There are several being considered already in Congress and they face a unique challenge that was summed up nicely by one of the Reps involved in the efforts:

::::::::Some voters have even asked lawmakers to draft a constitutional amendment, which one lawmaker said seems redundant.

"What are we going to do? The constitution is very clear — re-adopt the 5th Amendment? It specifically says you can't do this and somehow they found ... that it was OK to do it," said Rep. Richard Pombo ( search), R-Calif., chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.

Excellent point. When the highest court in the land looks at the highest law in the land and says that this phrase:

::::::::"nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."::::::::

...means that the government can take your house and give it to me because I can develop something on it that will - excuse me, might - generate more taxable revenue than you can, then you've got a real problem with writing a law. What can you say that preserves the ability to apply eminent domain in the case of a road, a bridge, or a school as has always been done and yet keep something like Kelo from happening?

The current efforts are centering around the purse strings, which is where Congress generally turns to bring States in line with their philosophy. If that's what needs to be done to protect peoples' homes, then do it. And get this issue back before the court after the doddering fools who ruled for the majority in Kelo are gone so this horrendous error can be corrected.