House Passes Bill to Overturn ‘Kelo’ Eminent Domain Decision

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 and is filed under Blog

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While we hold House Republicans accountable for breaking their spending pledge, we should also publicize the good legislation they pass.  Yesterday, the House passed a commonsense bill by voice vote to overturn an aspect of the 2005 Supreme Court eminent domain decision in Kelo v. City of New London.

The Fifth Amendment grants government the right to take private property and use it for public functions like roads and bridges, as long as the owner is fully compensated.  In 2005, the Supreme Court shocked the country be extending eminent domain rights to other private entities for the purpose of economic development.  The consequence of that decision was that if a local government deemed it necessary to tear down a Motel 6 and hand the property to the Ritz Carlton, it would be permissible under the guise of economic development.  This decision was one of the most egregious infringements on our property rights ever.

Republicans passed H.R. 1443, which would rescind federal funds for any locality that exercises eminent domain rights as a means of promoting “economic development.”  The bill also would prohibit states and the federal government from exercising their powers of eminent domain over property of religious or other nonprofit organizations.  This is a no-brainer bill, yet Harry Reid is making no promise to bring the legislation for a quick floor vote in the Senate.

Liberals talk a lot about bipartisanship, yet they are nowhere to be found when it comes time to pass something that is truly supported by all sides of the political spectrum.