Tuesday, June 28, 2005
National Land Grab Threat
Texas Attorney General Candidate David Van Os Calls US Supreme Court Ruling on Private Property a "Dangerous Departure"
Texas Attorney General candidate David Van Os said today he disagrees with last week's U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing cities to bulldoze people's homes in pursuit of economic redevelopment and increased tax revenues.
In a 5-4 ruling the majority held that private homes could be seized from their owners under the power of eminent domain. The property can then be turned over to private developers for mixed-use development such as office buildings and condominiums.
Although duly respectful of the authority of the nation's highest court, Van Os called the decision a "dangerous departure" from the doctrine embedded in the Bill of Rights placing stringent limitations on the government's power to take private property for "public use". Noting that "public use" has historically referred to land for schools, libraries, hospitals, roads and other "uses" which will directly serve the public, Van Os denounced the ruling as an unwarranted extension of the concept of "public use" and a serious threat to private home and land owners.
According to Van Os, "If economic development can be used to justify condemnation, any governmental body can curry favor with a private developer or corporation by using eminent domain to take homes away from their owners in order to hand the property over to the developer or corporation for private commercial benefit."
"If the people of Texas place their trust in me to be the people's lawyer, I pledge to do everything within the power of my office to see that Texas home owners cannot have their homes and land taken for the enrichment of private developers. I call on Govenor Perry to open the Special Session underway in Austin for legislation to protect the private property rights so fundamental to the traditions of Texas. Although we must respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court, nothing prevents the Texas legislature from enacting state laws to protect Texas home and property owners."
posted by snarko! at 1:42 PM
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