President Bush signed an executive order yesterday on the one year anniversary of the Kelo decision. My feelings haven't changed a bit on this subject since this post.
WASHINGTON - President Bush ordered yesterday that the federal government may not seize private property except for a public use such as a hospital or road.
His action occurred on the one-year anniversary of a controversial Supreme Court decision that gave local governments broad power to bulldoze people's homes to make way for private development.
The majority opinion in the Kelo v. City of New London, a case involving Connecticut homeowners, limited those homeowners' rights, saying that local governments could take private property for purely economic development-related projects that aimed to bring in more jobs and tax revenue.
But the court also said states were free to pass additional protections, and many have done so, barring so-called takings for shopping malls or other private projects.
Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) welcomed Bush's executive order. But since the federal government has only a limited role in such projects, he said, Congress must do more. Cornyn has introduced legislation that would also bar federal funding for any state or local projects in which the land was obtained through eminent domain.
This is just posturiing by President Bush. I'll give you two reasons.
1- Eminent domain is rarely used by the federal government.
2- The language of the executive order. Take this for example.
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to strengthen the rights of the American people against the taking of their private property, it is hereby ordered as follows:The executive order doesn't bar any transfers to private parties as Ilya Somin points out at the Volokh Conspiracy. So the Executive Order isn't worth the paper its written on. Bush is playing politics. Try again Mr. President.
Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of the United States to protect the rights of Americans to their private property, including by limiting the taking of private property by the Federal Government to situations in which the taking is for public use, with just compensation, and for the purpose of benefiting the general public and not merely for the purpose of advancing the economic interest of private parties to be given ownership or use of the property taken.
Or better yet, have Congress take action. There was alot of talk after Kelo last year and legislation to forbid federal money to be used in these seizures but to date nothing has happened on the national level. Betsy ponders why this is so and why the black congressional caucus isn't actively involved.
I think we need look no further than Rivera Beach. A poor, mostly black town in Palm Beach County. The city is trying to seize properties using eminent domain. The politicians there, like Mayor Brown are black and feel no compunction at taking people's homes. Why should it be any different on the federal level?
The public needs to fight this Kelo lunacy. For if we don't, no one's home is safe.
Also Blogging on this subject- Below the Beltway
Open Post- Stop the ACLU, Point Five,
Cross posted to Bullwinkle Blog