Saturday, July 30, 2005

Eminent Domain Hearings Imminent

While a tiny handful of libertarians approved of the Supreme Court's land-theft authorizing decision in Kelo v. New London, the overwhelming majority of libertarians were terribly dismayed, if not angered. Fourth Amendment, anyone?
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The right of the people to be secure in their houses, against unreasonable seizures. Taking one person's private property and giving it to another person so that it may be re-developed is now considered "reasonable" in the United States. Disgusting. So disgraceful of the Supreme Court.

Like the Kelo decision or hate it, the wind up is that the issue is passed off to the states. Fortunately, Indiana is going to take a good look at eminent domain soon. From State Rep. Kathy Richardson's article in the Noblesville Daily Times:
The final issue that I would like to mention is eminent domain and the effect of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. The power of eminent domain allows units of government to buy the property of private citizens when that piece of land is required for a public project. The most common example of this would be buying a piece of property to build a new highway. However, recently the Supreme Court ruled in Kelio v. City of New London that government may also take property under eminent domain laws if the project results in economic development for the community.

Even though economic development is good for our community, we must always take into account personal property rights. The good news is that as a state we regulate just how eminent domain is used and limit its use. In this respect the Summer Study Committee on eminent domain will spend time this summer examining this complex issue. The committee's first public meeting will be held on at 1 p.m. Aug. 10 in the auditorium of the Government Center South.
I'd like to think that I had something to do with this making the study list. I personally spoke with Rep. Richardson and advised her that the Libertarian Party has a deep interest in defending property rights, and would back any legislation that limits eminent domain powers statewide. I think that the possibility exists for us to draft model legislation and have a State Rep. introduce it in the 2006 legislative session.

In the meantime, plan to attend the hearing. More importantly, contact your State Reps and State Senators and let them know that you demand a very restrictive eminent domain law for Indiana.


Michael said...

I'd ask Kathy how she voted on HB 1063, if I were you Mike. Indiana passed an Eminent domain bill this year (and, as I recall it is now law) that says it's just fine to take property for commercial use. Seems like there's some smoke being blown. Their caveat was that the government had to pay 150% of "appraised value". Now, how hard is it to get someone to lowball? And it doesn't take "No!" for an answer. Indiana is little better than CT in this regard. Actually worse considering that Republicrats signed onto this en mass.

and look here at the language...the LP should be upset...

Mike Kole said...

I'm going to take the forward and hopeful approach here. There is an opportunity to work with legislators, GOP or Dem, who now see the wreckage that is commercial eminent domain.

Those legislators who drafted the recent "150% law" knew that they sadly could not pass a libertarian eminent domain law, so they did the 150% minimum pay item, designed to make Indiana cities think a little harder about taking private property.

No, that isn't what we want ultimately, but it is a step in the right direction by me.

Remember: if policy-making is to be an all or nothing proposition for libertarians, we will get nothing. We have to take gains, however small and pitiful, wherever we may find them, and then build on them.

What the Kelo case did was bring eminent domain to a wider audience. As most Hoosiers are property owners, they saw that they could be victims to the kind of eminent domain nonsense as happened in Kelo.

Thus, the political climate is now right for introducing and passing a genuinely libertarian (and Constitutional, by the way) ban on this kind of eminent domain use statewide.

I approached Kathy Richardson on the basis of being freindly with her, and that she is a ranking legislator. I certainly cannot introduce legislation. No Libertarian can, but I can do the next best thing: ask her or one of her collegues to carry it, if they believe in it.

The feedback I got from Kathy was that there would be a few GOP legislators who would have an interest.

That's a start! Now seeing her words in her article gives me further hope that there might be some legitimate interest in preserving property rights.

The Supreme Court has shown that they have abdicated on this. The best way to get sweeping protection is via the Statehouse. This is an opportunity that I *must* pursue.

LP Mike Sylvester said...

I plan on being there.

Kevin said...

I talked with Rep Phil Hinkle regarding the bill that Rep Wolkins of Elkhart had introduced regarding eminent domain and he said that he would support it and expects it to pass.

Mike Kole said...

Apparently, Rep. Wolkins in involving the libertarian Institute For Justice, the pro-bono legal outfit that litigated the Kelo v. New London case.

My hope is that IJ will supply model legislation. If so, I'll go on record backing it no matter who introduces it.

Debbie said...

Here's an interesting take on the Kelo decision.