Friday, November 04, 2005

In other news: Not all US congressmen are morons

The ridiculous Kelo vs. New London decision has just been gutted by the US House of Representatives. This is some of the best news that has come out of the states since, well, since Scooter Libby was indicted. Or since Bush's approval rating dropped again. It's been a good week.

Background: The Kelo case was a 5-4 Supreme Court decision handed down earlier this year. Mrs. Kelo owned a house that was, I believe, former Army Base housing she had bought years earlier in New London, Conneticut. It wasn't big or fancy, but it was bought and paid for.

The New London civic government decided they wanted a big pharmaceutical plant to be built on the site to generate jobs/tax revenue. They tried to kick Kelo off her land to complete the package and give the land to the developers. The developers and government (hereafter refered to as "the asshats") dragged the case all the way up to the Supremes, who decided that community betterment (read: tax revenue and corporate profits) trumped any rights an individual might hold. Nice one, guys. Way to fight creeping totalitarianism there.

But the House has ganged up on the decision. From

Conservative defenders of private property and liberal protectors of the poor joined in an overwhelming House vote to prevent local and state governments from seizing homes and businesses for use in economic development projects.

The House legislation, passed 376-38, was in response to a widely criticized 5-4 ruling by the Supreme Court last June that allowed eminent domain authority to be used to obtain land for tax revenue-generating commercial purposes.

That decision, said the House's third-ranked Republican, Deborah Pryce of Ohio, "dealt a blow to the rights of property owners across the country."

The bill would withhold for two years all federal economic development funds from states and localities that use economic development as a rationale for property seizures. It also would bar the federal government from using eminent domain powers for economic development.

It now goes to the Senate, where Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has introduced similar legislation.

I love the fact that it's bipartisan, and I suspect both sides aren't as far apart as private property vs. protecting the poor. If the poor actually managed to get a little bit of private property, it damn well needs to be protected.

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