Iowa Public Television


House Looks To Counter Justices on Takings Clause

posted on November 4, 2005

Charging that the Supreme Court has undermined one of the pillars of American society -- the sanctity of the home -- the House this week considered a bill to block court-sanctioned seizing of private property for use by developers.

The bill would withhold federal funds from state and local governments that use powers of eminent domain to force homeowners to give up their property for commercial uses.

The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling in June, recognized the power of local governments to seize property needed for private development projects that generate tax revenue. The decision drew criticism from a broad spectrum of private property, civil rights, farm, and religious groups, which said it was an abuse of the Fifth Amendment's "takings clause". That amendment provides for the taking of private property, with fair compensation, for public use.

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