Skip to comments.Congress works to blunt property seizure ruling (Eminent Domain)
Posted on 07/01/2005 1:04:12 AM PDT by YCTHouston
WASHINGTON - A Supreme Court decision allowing governments to seize property for economic development purposes has prompted an angry reaction in Congress, where lawmakers in both the House and Senate promoted legislation Thursday designed to mitigate the impact of the ruling.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, proposed legislation that would bar the federal government and local and state governments who receive federal funds from taking property for economic development use.
"The protection of homes, small businesses, and other property rights against government seizure and other unreasonable government interference is a fundamental principle and core commitment of our nation's founders," according to a letter written by Cornyn and Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. The letter was sent to colleagues asking for co-sponsors for the legislation.
DeLay backed similar bill House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, threw his support behind a similar measure that was introduced in that chamber by Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.
"This is a horrible decision by the Supreme Court," said DeLay, who said that the ruling is an example of why Congress should exert more oversight of the judiciary.
"This Congress is not going to just idly sit by and let an unaccountable judiciary make these kind of decisions without taking our responsibility and our duty given to us by the Constitution to be a check on the judiciary," said DeLay.
On Thursday, the House took an initial step toward trying to curb the use of federal money whenever a government seizes property for private development. Lawmakers by a 231-189 margin approved an amendment to a spending bill that would bar the use of federal funds to improve or construct infrastructure on such lands.
In Texas, state lawmakers hurried to sponsor other proposals designed to blunt the effects of the court ruling.
Resolution for amendment Rep. Frank Corte, R-San Antonio, introduced a resolution calling for an amendment to the state Constitution that would prevent land seizures for primarily economic developmental purposes, and some 100 legislators signed up as co-sponsors. In the upper chamber, state Sen. Robert Deuell, R-Greenville, filed an identical resolution. State Sen. Kyle Janek, R-Houston, filed a separate resolution.
DeLay cited the case of Freeport as an example of municipalities that plan on taking property for economic development purposes.
But Freeport Mayor Jim Phillips said the bills introduced Thursday in the House and Senate would not affect the city's efforts to seize three tracts of land along the Old Brazos River from two seafood companies for an $8 million private marina.
The rallying point In a 5-4 decision earlier this week, the Supreme Court ruled the city of New London, Conn., could use eminent domain proceedings to replace an aging residential neighborhood with a privately constructed development of offices, a hotel and a pedestrian river walkway. Municipal officials said it would increase the tax base.
The owners of the 15 homes the city planned to seize challenged the city unsuccessfully in court.
The case has become a rallying point for conservatives, who have traditionally sought to protect property rights.
But the legislation to curb eminent domain proceedings has also drawn a number of Democrats, such as Rep. Gene Green of Houston, who represent inner-city constituencies fearful of government seizure.
Houston Chronicle reporter Polly Ross Hughes contributed to this report from Austin.
Pleaseadd me to this ping list, thank you.
Wait 'til Byrd-brain filibusters it in the Senate.
The folks in Freeport need to grab Mayor Jim Phillips property/properties for redevelopment.
It's intersting that the DeLay bill is carefully crafted to prevent one kind of development...but not others. If the developer is using private funds for his project then the state or municipality can use eminent domain to sieze whatever it wants.
Ya know, it just seems so stinkin' obvious doesn't it? Instead of executing their DUTY, their RESPONSIBILITY, the very power of their office which WE have entrusted to them for just such causes, they do what they do EVERY SINGLE TIME : "Fire up the presses boys and get that snake oil warmed up".
Our Constitution is bleeding liberty at the hands of our constipated and corrupt Congress.Time for the big hose and some serious flushing. Anything less and we're just giving FASCISM a new party dress.
Congress works to blunt property seizure ruling (Eminent Domain)
How about an impeachment or two. That would work wonders on the rest of the freeloaders.
I've never been well-organized enough (he scans the piles of paper and books on his desk)to do more than ping the people I know off the top of my head, but will keep you in mind.
Interesting...I'm no lawyuh (though I was at one time an ED advancing beauracrat), so if you know any good relevant links off the top of your head, feel free to post em.
I hope so! This kind of statute is completely wrong. It's just ridiculous...I almost threw up when I heard it, and I know for a fact that my residence is NOT in jeopardy...just that it COULD be angers me. We need the leadership in Congress (Hastert, Blunt, etc) to get the job done and make it difficult for this to happen. Plain and simple.
Good post. Thanks for your post. Bump.
As a result of outrage over Kelo vs. New London, Ct., it is great to see Americans so aware of, & energized in defense of, private property rights by addressing threats, this terrible precedent (Kelo v. New London), and becoming aware of the downside of activist Judges. I have been concerned with both of these related issues for about a decade. I even had brief, separate, conversational encounters with two of the "good" Justices (Scalia & Thomas) in the Kelo case about 6 or 7 years ago re: "The Takings Clause" of the 5th Amendment designed to protect private property from arbitrary seizures, but providing for Eminent Domain for certain "public use" (NOT "public purpose") . It was clear they were anxious to see some good cases walk toward them. I doubt if they would have predicted the bizarre outcome in Kelo, though.
For those of us who are deeply concerned with protection of Private Property from improper application of Eminent Domain in contravention of the Original Intent of the Founders in the 5th Amendment's Takings Clause, I am registering a warning or a concern:
I think AG (& potential USSC Nominee) Alberto Gonzales is very weak on Private Property Rights and lacks an understanding of orignainl intent of the 5th Amendment's Takings Clause (Eminent Domain) based both upon some cases when he ws at the texas Supreme Ct. (e.g., FM Properties Operating Co. v. City of Austin, 22 S.W.3d 868 (Tex. 2000))
and, more recently and significantly, upon his NOT having joined in the Kelo case on the side of property owner. My understanding ws that he had sided with the League of Cities against Kelo while WH Counsel.
As some have frequently observed, he certainly believes in a "Living Constitution" and is NOT a strict constructionist or an Originalist, but rather tends toward the Activist side, per National Review Online and others.
He has been sharply critical of Priscilla Owen in some Texas Supreme Ct. decisions when they were both on that Ct. as Justices, and he has been quoted as being sharply criticial fo Janice Rogers Brown, including being quoted by People for the American Way in their ultra-leftist propaganda.