Florida Libertarians Help Foil National Eminent Domain
November 19th 2005
Orlando, FL--When the Supreme Court
recently ruled that seizing people's property for the profit of
local developers was not only Constitutional but actually a core
purpose of government, many Libertarians sprang into action,
coordinated by the Florida Libertarian Party, which has a long
history of fighting Eminent Domain in Florida.
Its Vice Chair traveled to Washington. Libertarian activists
besieged legislators and met with property rights groups. Non
Libertarian Party activists attracted national chuckles by pointedly
starting an initiative against the homes of 2 Supreme Court Justices
to seize their homes using the very policy they favored. Newscasters
interviewed Libertarians on national television. Once again
Libertarians were helping form and lead a non-partisan, broad
coalition--this time against a Supreme Court ruling hailed as a
victory for expanding government and central planning.
This week Congress passed legislation limiting the
Supreme Court decision so, observers say, there would be less
Eminent Domain power than before.
The Bill, HR 4128, was passed by a landslide 376 to 38 majority and
now goes to the Senate.
In a statement thanking activists, Walt Augustinowicz, Vice -Chair
of the Florida
Libertarians, said, "We did it. This is a great bill. It will be
a great help."
The Bill forbids using Eminent Domain for reasons of 'economic
development' and withstood a last minute effort to gut it. It now
faces a battle in the Senate.
Typical of local Libertarian activists were the Libertarian Party
affiliate in in St Petersburg, Pinellas, Florida, where members were
urged to contact legislators and e-mail friends, said Julie Chorgo,
The Libertarian Institute for Justice, which coordinated one of the
coalition groups, had no doubts that citizen's efforts were key.
"The amendments that would have substantially weakened the
protections it affords were rejected," said co-coordinator Christina
Walsh. "This tremendous outcome was a direct result of your calls
and letters to Congress. But the battle is just beginning; the bill
now heads to the Senate. We will need your support again to make
sure that the Senate follows the House's lead in refusing to fund
eminent domain abuse."
A growing number of economists and litigators view Eminent Domain as
an obsolete government power that does more harm than good. They
cite examples of development projects that actually created less
revenue, or that increased joblessness.
By M. Davis
Keywords and Misspellings: Libartarian
Libertarian Democrat Greens Floreda