JLF Memo
Nov. 1st, 2010: - johnlocke.org

Featured Article

Forgetting Kelo: Anti-Property Rights Advocates are Fighting Back
By Daren Bakst

In the Spotlight

There's always been a fear by property rights advocates (at least this one) that the public will forget the Kelo
decision and the constant attack on property rights by politicians from both parties. This fear appears to be justified.

In 2006, Nevada voters overwhelmingly passed a state constitutional amendment to protect against eminent domain abuse, including Kelo-type takings.

The state legislature, however, decided it wanted to weaken property rights protections and has put on the ballot a constitutional amendment that would weaken the constitutional amendment passed just four years ago.

In 2006, Louisiana voters also overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to protect against eminent domain abuse.

The anti-property-rights advocates are trying to chip away at this protection by changing the constitution so that property owners whose properties have been taken for blight don't have the same protections as other property owners.

If voters reject these amendments, it will be a strong statement in favor of property rights. If they approve the amendments, it could indicate the momentum against
Kelo-type takings and eminent domain abuse may be waning.

It is critical for everyone concerned with property rights to watch for subtle attempts to weaken property rights as is happening in Nevada and Louisiana. Of course, in North Carolina, there are limited property rights protections in place now, so there's not much to weaken.


Quick Takes

Perkins appeals to higher court
(Note: The article is about the use of eminent domain for Columbia University -- this high-profile case is important to watch.)

Now, the attorneys representing two property holdouts, who have refused to sell to Columbia, are appealing the decision to the Supreme Court of the United States, arguing that the decision promotes an abuse of eminent domain law and violates fundamental constitutional rights.

In Perkins' [NY state senator] brief, which Spectator obtained a copy of on Tuesday, he echoed the attorneys' argument, asserting that the Court of Appeals ignored legal safeguards articulated in the landmark 2005 Supreme Court ruling in Kelo v. City of New London--in which the Supreme Court ruled that land could be transferred from one private owner to another through eminent domain in order to promote economic rejuvenation--and in the process abdicated its responsibility of judicial law review. Furthermore, he writes in his brief that process of eminent domain unfairly targets minorities and poorer sectors of the population.


Town above mine fire asks courts for help

Residents of a Central Pennsylvania coal town decimated by a mine fire have gone to federal court trying to prevent state officials from evicting them from their homes.

Centralia's few remaining residents lodged a civil rights complaint against the state Department of Community and Economic Development and other defendants, alleging a conspiracy to steal the mineral rights to billions of dollars worth of anthracite coal.

The residents asked a federal judge Friday for an injunction that would bar the state from proceeding with eminent domain while their lawsuit, filed earlier this week, is heard.



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Monday, Nov. 8th, 2010 at 12:00 noon
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