RLC News Release on Eminent Domain!
- Officers & Members,This Wednesday, the national Board of Directors will beconsidering issuance of a News Release on eminent domain.The text below has been through several iterations, but wewelcome suggestions or comments.The document will be available to state officers to editand highlight their own statements and concerns for localdistribution to media.Bill WestmillerNational Chair------------------------------NEWS RELEASE
Monday: August 15, 2005
Dateline: Thousand Oaks , CA
GOP Caucus Supports Private Property Rights
The Republican Liberty Caucus today called for substantive changes to state eminent domain laws and regulations that will protect private property from unnecessary confiscation, contrary to the recent Supreme Court ruling in Kelo v. City of New London .
The organization of libertarian activists within the GOP also urged Congress to eliminate eminent domain takings from Housing and Urban Development [HUD] grants and to preclude the use of federal funds for state projects that take private property for “economic development”.
“The RLC supported the Institute for Justice in its appeal,” said Chairman William Westmiller, “and we believe the Court’s ruling should be reversed. In the meantime, our 43 chapters are working hard to strengthen their own state’s protections against eminent domain abuse.”
The group’s official Statement of Position defends “the right of the people to be secure in their persons and property and opposes any use of eminent domain except for essential government functions.”
Caucus members in several states have already initiated revisions to their state laws or constitutions. RLC Coordinator and Maine Representative R. Kenneth Lindell has introduced a bill that would forbid takings for economic development. RLC Honorary Georgia Chairman and state Senator David Shafer is pressing for stronger restrictions on the use of eminent domain. RLC Advisory Board Member and California State Senator Tom McClintock has proposed legislation and a state initiative that would restore private property rights. RLC activists in Oregon , Michigan and Arizona are pressing for changes to their “economic development” takings laws. Florida RLC activists are assisting with an initiative drive to defend private property.
“We are urging our members to support federal legislation that would prohibit federal grants, loans, guarantees or assistance for any taking for the benefit of private interests,” says New York RLC Coordinator Stuart W. Mirsky, “Homeowners and business need to be protected against politically influential developers and special interests.”[More…]
RLC-Eminent Domain Cont…
RLC member Logan Darrow Clements has gained wide attention for his proposal to use eminent domain to take Supreme Court Justice David Souter’s property in Weare , New Hampshire to build a “Lost Liberty Hotel” featuring a “Just Desserts Café”. Other members have issued a warrant to take Justice David Breyer’s Plainfield , New Hampshire property for a “ Constitution Park ”. Both Justices supported the New London , Connecticut takings, justified solely on the basis of “economic benefits”.
The RLC Board commended the dissenters in Kelo, including retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who mourned the abandonment of “this long-held, basic limitation on government power. Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner…”
The RLC has joined the Castle Coalition in supporting federal legislation [H.R. 3038] by Representative Denny Rehberg that would forbid federal support for takings that only served private interests. The RLC joins many other libertarian organizations who have condemned the Kelo ruling and called for a restoration of full property rights for every landowner.
“We hope state and federal legislators will pay close attention to the broad public opposition to takings that are not essential to government functions,” said Westmiller, “and we would like to see a more equitable and just compensation for takings that account for other losses beyond ‘fair market value’. Republicans and all Americans who believe in individual property rights can not surrender to the tyranny of big government’s destruction of private enterprise.”
The Republican Liberty Caucus has members in all 50 states and 12 chartered state organizations dedicated to promoting the ideals of individual rights, limited government and free enterprise within the Republican Party.
Jeff Katz, Media Relations Director (484) 840-1395 RadioKatz@...
Thomas Sewell, Communications Chair (435) 531-6964 Secretary@...
William Westmiller, RLC Chairman (805) 493-4332 Westmiller@...
Rep. J. Kenneth Lindell, RLC-ME (207) 223-9966 RKLindell@...
Sen. David Shafer, RLC-GA (404) 651-7738 DavidShaferGOP@...
Stuart Mirsky , RLC-NY (718) 634-0577 SWMmirsky@...