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 PRESS RELEASE: House Resources Committee 6/30/05

House United on Private Property Rights

Washington, DC - Today a united House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed H. Res 340, expressing its condemnation of the recent Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. City of New LondonHouse Committee on Resources Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA), author of This Land is Our Land: How to End the War on Private Property, issued the following statement on the resolution's passage:

"While the full breadth of this decision's consequences may not be fully realized for some time, I am sure the Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves as we approach this Independence Day weekend.  The Supreme Court's decision to allow local governments to declare eminent domain turns the Fifth Amendment on its head.  It has wholly perverted the scope of the public use clause, and in so doing, may turn the American dream of home ownership into a nightmare.

The assault on private property is decades old, but until now the typical victims have been family farmers and ranchers in the West.  This decision, however, delivers the property rights assault straight from rural America right to the doorsteps of suburbia.

One of the most poignant statements in the Declaration of Independence charged that the King of Great Britain had 'erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of new Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.'  

As a result, our forefathers realized that private property - indeed owning the fruits of one's labor - was so inextricably linked to freedom that they sought its protection in the Constitution along with civil rights.  In this decision, the officers of the Supreme Court have similarly signaled to state and local bureaucrats that the taking of private property, whatever their whims, is justified by an indirect and abstract notion of public good.  This is not what the Framers intended.

Fortunately, Congress maintains the power over the purse strings.  We will act to minimize the effects of this ruling to the greatest extent possible.  States and local communities alike, recognizing the importance of private property rights, have also begun to act to protect themselves from this decision.  I applaud their action and that of the House today."





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