From the Editor: Vote Yes on the Eminent Domain Amendment
Vote Yes on the Eminent Domain Amendment
Next month’s ballot will include a referendum on an amendment to Virginia’s Constitution that will protect Virginians from government attempts to seize their property and turn it over to another private owner. This is a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2005 Kelo vs City of New London decision in which the court made the abominable ruling that the city was allowed to seize private property, in that case, houses that a developer wanted for a hotel site even though no public need was served, except that the developer promised their resort would pay the government more in taxes. In the end, the houses were destroyed at public expense while the developer walked away from the plan and the promised jobs and taxes never came true.
Virginians, as the heirs of Patrick Henry, were appalled at this outcome and in 2007 passed a law that forbids our local and state governments from using their eminent domain powers for any purpose other than our general welfare and our public needs, and even those in the most limited manner feasible. It reiterated what we all had understood was our right to really own our property. Since that law passed, interests that find it inconvenient to their ambitions have tried to find ways around it. That’s why we are now at the point of enshrining this concept in our constitution. Let’s do it now.
There is such a thing as natural law, the rights that adhere to a person by virtue of his or her dignity as a human being—life, liberty, the of pursuit of happiness, you know, all that quaint stuff in our Declaration of Independence—and there are the laws men make up to regulate their affairs toward harmony. Beware when men’s laws betray the concept of private property. If that right is nullified by our government, our natural rights are likewise in jeopardy. Lincoln said it all: of the people, by the people, for the people. Yes, yes, yes.