I am deeply concerned about the recent decision of the Supreme Court (Kelo v. New London).
I want to see a law pass that will restate the eminent domain and the current interpretation by the Supreme Court such that private lands may not be obtained by governments for re-distribution to corporate interests simply if such distribution will mean more taxes for local interests. This interpretation should be limited to use for public infrastructure such as roads and bridges and only those items that are of direct benefit to the citizens of that area. And, I believe that even this purpose should be extremely limited. If an improved tax base is the primary reason for land-grabbing by the government, who will protect our not-for-profit organizations? Our churches? Our other valuable, but not currently taxed, land-use?
I agree with an article in the KY Kernel, published in Feb of this year, over the ongoing battle with the Lexington-Water company issue, government use of eminent-domain power should be reserved for instances where it is absolutely necessary. Taking land for public use should be done only in instances where a community would be deprived of a vital government service, e.g., a road or utility not already in place.
I’m concerned that the greatest court in the land is now dictating law in this manner, bypassing the process by which we elect individuals to represent us and make the laws we request and support for our collective benefit as individuals. If lands are “taken” from the individuals – even for legitimate, unavoidable government use – the land owner should not only be paid a fair prices, they should have their land returned or the estate of the landowner (or decedents) should reclaim the land once the use by the government is no longer absolutely necessary, in my humble opinion.
The Supreme Court needs to QUIT creating laws from the bench and defend those already in place and the rights of those individuals who should be protected by said laws – specifically, in this case, the use of eminent domain for the one purpose, and ONLY purpose, of public good, and not some bizarre interpretation of that which says that setting up a pharmaceutical company will benefit the area by providing jobs and bringing in more taxes and thus should be defined as public use.