The musings of one Andrew Langer - defender of liberty, passionate protector of individual rights, foodie. (Note: Said Musings of Andrew Langer are his own, and the views represented herein are likewise his views, and not the views of any other people, entities, foodstuffs, etc [unless otherwise specifically and explicitly noted].)

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Now All The Youth of England Are On Fire...

...and silken dalliance in the wardrobe lies. (Henry V, Act 2, Scene 1)

While this post offers more on the Supreme Court's recent eminent domain decision, I want to make it clear that this blog won't always be talking about private property rights. But this is just too important to ignore right now...

Kelo, which I've heretofore said is amongst the dumbest decisions the High Court has ever rendered, may actually have a silver lining. No, not substantively. But the political and policy implications are astounding... this may be the straw which breaks the camel's back.

I've been following property rights issues for over a decade now, and the issue of abusive eminent domain has occupied a lot of my time and energy for the last several years. One of the big problems, in addition to figuring out just how best to deal with this problem (and at which level of government), is how to get more people in positions of power interested enough in this problem to actually do something.

Mssrs Stevens, Kennedy, Breyer, Souter and Mme Ginsburg may have handed us the perfect vehicle. DC is positively ablaze with people (again, across political boundaries) outraged about this - and while we should always be skeptical when members of Congress take up the mantle of a cause because of some watershed event, the situation has nevertheless created a number of new champions (with more to follow). As of today, Representatives Kennedy and Gingrey, and Senator John Cornyn of Texas have started floating legislative ideas designed to address some aspect of this problem. And I hear that the House is planning on dropping a resolution condemning the Supreme Court decision, in order to move this issue forward.

Meanwhile, the merry band of litigators at IJ are moving on the offensive once again. I received an e-mail from Elizabeth Moser, who does outreach for IJ (and someone I consider a friend), outlining some of their next initiatives. Their announcement follows my writing. Among the proposals is something that I've been saying in speeches on property right strategy for a number of years now: IJ is proposing an eminent domain pledge for government officials.

I had always been thinking of a much more general "property rights protection pledge", along the lines of Americans for Tax Reform's "taxpayer protection pledge", but IJ's is great for this issue. My pledge was along the lines of a "No Net Loss of Private Lands" pledge - general, simple, etc.

IJ is calling for a number of things to be done - among them is to take the 4th of July and use it to bring more attention to this issue. But you don't need my interpretation. I'll let Liz Moser speak for herself:

Dear Friends:
Today IJ and its Castle Coalition announced the launch of the “Hands Off My Home” campaign. We have pledged at least $3 million to the fight to end the use of eminent domain for private profit. This campaign will focus the universal wave of opposition to the Kelo ruling into the only venue left for home and small business owners in desperate need of protection: state courts, state legislatures, and the initiative process.

Over the next year, the Castle Coalition will educate, support and coordinate grassroots activism to end eminent domain abuse at the state and local level. At the same time, the Institute for Justice will go to the state courts and ask them to place limits on the abuse of eminent domain. Each state has its own constitutional prohibition on eminent domain for private use. Even if the U.S. Constitution provides no protection, state constitutions can still prevent state and local governments from taking homes and businesses for the benefit of private business. To read more, see IJ's release on the campaign at the end of this email.

As we move forward, we will announce a series of actions that ordinary citizens can take to end eminent domain abuse. Today we sent a letter to the Governors of each state to sign the Hands Off My Home Pledge that they will work to end the use of eminent domain for private development in their state. We ask you, in honor of Independence Day, to call or email your Governor and ask him or her to sign the Hands Off My Home Pledge. The Pledge and contact information for each Governor appears below. We will announce on the Castle Coalition website when each Governor signs it. In the coming weeks, we will extend the same pledge to state legislators and local government officials.

On July 5th at 6 pm, there will be a rally at the New London City Hall, 181 State Street, to ask the City Council to allow Susette Kelo and the other homeowners to stay in Fort Trumbull. If you live anywhere near New London (CT), come out and show your support!

*********************************** The Hands Off My Home Pledge:

I pledge to the citizens of this State that I will:

Oppose efforts by my state government or municipalities within my state to use the government power of eminent domain for private development.

Support legislation and other efforts to ensure that the citizens of this state are safe from eminent domain for private development.

More to follow.


Anonymous Conrad Cerullo said...

I really appreciate people like you who take their chance in such an excellent way to give an impression on certain topics. Thanks for having me here.

January 11, 2006 12:13 PM


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