« Footprint Artist/Blogger | Main | Magic Lady revealed? »

October 5, 2006

A Shocking ‘Reform’

The NY Sun Editorial

NoLandGrabbers weren't the only ones who thought that Governor Pataki's support for the anti-eminent-domain-for-a major-infrastructure-project bill was pretty fishy, especially since the governor/presidential candidate still supports taking homes for Bruce Ratner's basketball arena.

The need for eminent domain reform grows more urgent with each day the Supreme Court’s 2005 decision in Kelo v. New London stands, but Governor Pataki’s latest gambit on the issue is the wrong reform at the wrong time. Mr.Pataki has signed a bill that limits use of eminent domain for one of the few purposes that property rights advocates recognize as an acceptable exercise of the power.

The bill sets stringent conditions on the use of eminent domain for the construction of electric transmission lines. The founders crafted the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause by candlelight, but they had public works projects like roads and other rights of way in mind. Even in a more restrictive era, sewers, water mains, sidewalks, and electric lines counted as legitimate “public uses.” Thus,while preserving the state’s right to seize land for, say, a new office tower for the New York Times or housing for a Ratner project, the governor’s bill tries to forestall one of the few exercises of eminent domain that’s in keeping with the founders’ intent.
Eminent domain abuse is ripe for reform, in New York more than in many places. Such reform needs to define abuses of eminent domain as uses of the power that were not intended by the men who founded America. It is hard to imagine that a power transmission line, whether or not it ultimately gains regulatory approval, is not the kind of public work the founders had in mind.Mr.Pataki’s “cure” for eminent domain abuse is turning out to be just as bad as the disease.


Posted by lumi at October 5, 2006 7:09 AM