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Press Release

    Florida Alert: Private Property Rights in Jeopardy!

    07/01/2005

    The United States Supreme Court decision creates an all-out assault by government on private property and home ownership.

    Recently in the case of Kelo vs. the City of New London, Conneticut, the United States Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the city is justified in leveling homes for a Pfizer drug research facility, an office building, a riverfront hotel and other commercial activities.

    In actuality, the government has always maintained the "right" to take your house and property, but there were constitutionally mandated limits.

    Under the 5th Amendment to the Constitution, governments could exercise "eminent domain" to turn you out of house and home if they paid you "just compensation" -- although what you may consider just and what the government may consider just could differ tremendously.

    Moreover, the "seizure" had to occur for a legitimate "public use" i.e. roads, utilities lines, sewers, schools etc., or to rid the community of a "blighted area."
    Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that promoting economic development, in this case the jobs created – cannot be distinguished form other public purposes cited in the condemnations.

    Justice Sandra Day O’Conner in her dissenting opinion wrote:
    "Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory."

    Justice O’Conner also added:
    "... property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party... the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms. As for the victims, the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more. The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result."

    FreedomWorks Florida State Director John Hallman commented:
    “This Supreme Court Decision opens the door for those with influence and power to take a citizens home away and tears away the basic American principle of individual property rights. Almost any home or property may not be highest and best use for that property, this ruling will have every homeowner in jeopardy of being tossed out of their home.”
    Fortunately, Senator John Cornyn has introduced legislation in the United States Senate -- The Protection of Homes, Small Businesses, and Private Property Act of 2005.
    This legislation will effectively nullify the high court's draconian Kelo decision.

    Please call Senator Martinez and Senator Nelson and urge them to support this important legislation; your home may be next.

    Also, in response to the Supreme Court ruling, Florida House Speaker Allan Bense said he will appoint a committee to ensure a similar seizure won’t happen in Florida. State Representative Marco Rubio will lead the committee.

    Please call your Florida Legislators and let them know you support this committee.