Eminent Domain Backlashes 'Aren't Strong Enough'

"Community rights" do not exist, and since legislators and much of the public have "gone squishy" over individual property rights, more action is needed to restrict eminent domain powers, according to this op-ed.
June 29, 2006, 5am PDT | David Gest
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"A year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court's Kelo decision on eminent domain created two diametrically opposite reactions. On one hand, many local government officials rejoiced at the affirmation of what they feel is a necessary tool to reshape their communities. On the other hand, people everywhere grew so outraged by the decision that it could be 'one of the best things that ever happened to the national property rights movement,' as Reason's Len Gilroy wrote.

This divide has reinforced the fact that the Kelo decision threw the issue of eminent domain back to the states. The fight over where, when and how eminent domain can be used is now mostly a local fight, spilling from state houses down to inner city and suburban neighborhoods and even to rural areas."

"In a world where legislators and much of the public have gone squishy on what constitutes a right, passing a law that just plain says, 'look, you can't take someone's land except on rare occasion for public infrastructure projects like roads and dams' appears just too extreme."

"There is a reason the Constitution doesn’t mention 'community rights' -- they don't exist. Only individuals have rights. Communities have desires."

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Published on Friday, June 23, 2006 in Reason Foundation
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