Sensenbrenner Reintroduces the Private Property Rights Protection Act
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) reintroduced the Private Property Rights Protection Act today. This bill would provide American citizens with the means to protect their private property from inappropriate claims of eminent domain. If a state or political subdivision of a state uses its eminent domain power to transfer private property to other private parties for the purpose economic development, the state would be ineligible for federal economic funds for two fiscal years following a judicial determination that the law has been violated. Additionally, the federal government would be prohibited from using eminent domain for economic development purposes.
In Kelo v. City of New London, the Supreme Court ruled that “economic development” can be a “public use” under the Fifth Amendment’s Taking Clause. The ruling gave the government the authority to transfer property from someone with fewer resources to someone with more. Taking private property for private use disproportionately affects the poor, churches, religious institutions and non-profit organizations. It’s a fundamental liberty to allow private citizens to use their property for whatever lawful purpose they choose.
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “A large majority of Americans oppose the taking of private property for private uses, even if it is for the public economic good. Congress should fight to protect private property rights and reform the use and abuse of eminent domain. Under the Supreme Court’s decision, farmers in Wisconsin are particularly vulnerable. Farmland is less valuable than residential or commercial property, which means it doesn’t generate as much property tax as homes or offices. This bill would restore the property rights the Supreme Court took away.”