The Chron endorses Prop 11, which is the constitutional amendment to limit eminent domain takings that were allowed by the Supreme Court’s 2005 Kelo ruling.
[It] would prohibit “the taking, damaging, or destroying of private property” for purposes of economic development. The Houston Chronicle urges a vote for Proposition 11.
It was for good reason that the high court ruling in Kelo v. City of New London alarmed many property rights advocates here and elsewhere. It upheld the taking by right of eminent domain of private residences by the Connecticut city for purposes of economic development and expanding the tax base. Proposition 11 would prevent takings of property for either of those reasons.
Preventing takings for economic motives is consistent with Texans’ historically strong support for property rights. At the same time, it would not impede eminent domain takings for necessary purposes.
In situations where economic development is the objective it is simple fairness to give property owners the benefits of choice, and of a marketplace sale. To force a sale upon them under such inflexible circumstances is inimical to constitutional principles enumerated in the takings clause.
Opponents contend a constitutional amendment is unnecessary and that the state courts should be allowed to clear up any potential problems in Texas. Maybe so, but that is no match for the carved-in-stone finality of an amendment.
Maybe it’s just my distrust of anything pushed by Rick Perry, but I’m not sold on Prop 11. I fear that this amendment will be interpreted too broadly, and since it’s an amendment it’d be near impossible to fix. But maybe I’m just being paranoid. Can anyone convince me one way or the other on this?
In other constitutional amendment news, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson wrote an op-ed in favor of Prop 9, and in the interest of equal time sent it out with an opposing argument, which was written Pacific Legal Foundation attorney J. David Breemer. You can read Patterson’s piece here, and Breemer’s piece, which is more about the Open Beaches act in general and not specifically about Prop 9, though if you agree with his position you’d certainly vote against it, here.