More than three months after the U.S. Supreme Court’s dreadful decision in Kelo v. City of New London, the issue of eminent domain abuse remains a hot topic across the country.
Legislatures at every level of government are taking a close look at eminent domain laws in order to make sure what happened in New London doesn’t happen anywhere else. Just last week, both the U.S. Senate and House held hearings on proposed federal responses to the situation. Congress heard testimony from New London property owners Susette Kelo and Michael Cristofaro, as well as Pastor Fred Jenkins, whose congregation’s property was taken for private development, and Institute for Justice Senior Attorney Dana Berliner.
In addition, IJ staff members have been busy in the individual states—criss-crossing the nation to provide insight and information to policy groups, citizens and state legislatures, calling for real reform of state eminent domain laws, which are most often the method for abuse. Taking Justice John Paul Steven’s comment about state action to heart, legislators in over thirty states have or will introduce bills limiting the power of eminent domain to its more historic uses. Alabama and Texas have passed more restrictive laws, though some large loopholes remain to be fixed. And, not to be outdone, an even larger number of local governments are responding to the Kelo decision, ensuring that the power of eminent domain be used only for true public uses.
Castle Coalition members have been a large part in the debate, providing human faces and the real-life stories of sorrow so often associated with the abuse of eminent domain. Together, we’re striving to protect the homes, small businesses and churches targeted by greedy governments and developers. It’s a battle we’ll no doubt win.
To join in and learn more about the battle to save your property and hear all about the latest activities around the country, sign up to become a member of the Castle Coalition.