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On behalf of our activist community, I urge you to contact your representatives and urge them to cosponsor the Private Property Protection Act, H.R. 1689, introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.). The bill would put strict limitations on the federal, state and local governments from exercising its power of eminent domain for economic development.
The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution says “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” The original purpose of this amendment was to ensure that government would not have the power to impede individuals’ property rights.
Eminent domain has corrupted itself into an extremely unprincipled process through which private companies use force to take another person’s property purely for profit. In Kelo v. New London (2005), the Supreme Court redefined “public use” to mean “public purpose,” including economic development.
The tyranny of eminent domain is one that threatens individual liberty, rural communities, and the economy of the United States. Rural America is the backbone of this country and agricultural is the backbone of this economy. There is a moral argument to be made: hard-working Americans should not have to live in fear that their homes, farms, and businesses are susceptible to being taken by the government.
Under the Private Property Rights Protection Act, if the state does steal land from a private entity and transfer it to another, federal funds to the state would be frozen for two years. Similarly, the federal government would be prohibited from using eminent domain for the purpose of economic development.
The cornerstone of liberty is the right to private property. Allowing the government to step in and take property on a whim for an alleged public good seems controversial to say the least, but letting the federal government transfer ownership of property from one private entity to another is unconstitutional. For these reasons, I urge you to contact your representatives and ask them to cosponsor the Private Property Protection Act, H.R. 1689.
Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks