The House Acts to Protect Private Property
In 2005, the US Supreme Court issued its now infamous Kelo opinion which ruled it constitutional for governments to use the power of eminent domain to seize homes and businesses and turn them over to private parties who would develop the properties in ways that would increase the government's tax base. The Constitution only allows government to take property by eminent domain "for public use" - not for whatever politicians think is a good idea.
Poorer Americans, especially racial minorities and seniors, are the people most often affected by government's abuse of eminent domain. Those who lose their homes in this manner to private developers are real victims. It was their misfortune to live on pieces of land that politically-connected developers and the politicians to whom they're connected have decided the owners no longer deserve to keep. Currently, there is no remedy for victims of eminent domain use for private development.
In only one year following the Kelo decision, more than 5,700 properties nationwide were threatened or taken by eminent domain for private development. The number of threatened and confiscated properties has increased significantly.
Other than a few meaningless speeches, Washington politicians have been troublingly silent on this issue, and little has been done by Congress in response to the Kelo decision - until Tuesday, February 28, 2012.
On that day, the House of Representatives passed the Private Property Rights Protection act, H.R. 1443.
According to The Hill:
The Private Property Rights Protection act, H.R. 1443, would prevent states from using eminent domain over property to be used for economic development, and establish a private right of action for property owners if a state or local government violates the new rule. It would also limit federal funds to states in which property is taken in violation of the law.
House Republicans brought up the bill under a suspension of House rules, and after a brief debate, members passed it by voice vote.
Freedom-loving, private-property-protecting Americans must urge their senators to follow suit and hope that the president can be trusted to sign a completed bill.