WASHINGTON - Tomorrow, June 23, marks the fifth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Kelo v. New London decision. Today the Libertarian Party published the following open letter:
We, the state chairs of the Libertarian Party, and members of the Libertarian National Committee (LNC), wish to call attention to the fifth anniversary of the wrongful Kelo v. New London decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Susette Kelo and her co-plaintiffs simply wanted to be left in peace in their homes, but the New London Development Corp. wanted their land for its own development purposes, and convinced the City of New London to condemn their property for its benefit.
By rendering its decision against Susette Kelo and her co-plaintiffs, the court gutted an important private property protection of the U. Constitution. The Supreme Court decided that it is acceptable for government entities to condemn and seize private property, even when the purpose is to offer that property to another private owner for economic development.
The Supreme Court's decision expanded the government's unjust power of eminent domain.
Even more shamefully, the proposed development never materialized. The Institute for Justice recently noted that 'The very land where Susette Kelo's home once stood remains barren -- home to nothing but feral cats, seagulls and weeds.'
Eminent domain is bad enough when it is used to expand government roads and schools, but the practice of forcibly taking a person's land to give to a company for things like shopping malls is utterly wrong.
The Libertarian Party has always showed strong support for private property rights. Our platform states that 'we oppose all government interference with private property, such as confiscation, nationalization, and eminent domain.'
Last year, Susette Kelo commented that 'even though over 40 states have passed legislation offering some protection to home and business owners, don't think your property is safe, because it is not.' The Castle Coalition, which works to protect property owners from eminent domain abuse, has given only five states an A or A- rating for eminent domain reform in the wake of the Kelo decision. Many states have passed reforms that sound strong at first, but contain major loopholes or other bad provisions. Republicans and Democrats like to posture as eminent domain reformers while they carve out exceptions for special interests.
We call on the Supreme Court to reverse the Kelo ruling in a future case, and we call on all 50 states to adopt laws or constitutional amendments to eliminate this practice.
Mark Bodenhausen, Alabama
Scott Kohlhaas, Alaska
Michael Kielsky, Arizona
Rodger Paxton, Arkansas
Kevin Takenaga, California
David Williams, Colorado
Rich Lion, Connecticut
James W. Rash, Delaware
J.J. McCurry, Florida
Daniel Adams, Georgia
Roger Taylor, Hawaii
Rob Oates, Idaho
Lupe Diaz, Illinois
Sam Goldstein, Indiana
Ed Wright, Iowa
Andrew Gray, Kansas
Ken Moellman, Kentucky
T. Lee Horne III, Louisiana
Shawn Levasseur, Maine
Robert Johnston, Maryland
David Blau, Massachusetts
Emily Salvette, Michigan
Bob Odden, Minnesota
Danny Bedwell, Mississippi
Glenn Nielsen, Missouri
Mike Fellows, Montana
Gene Siadek, Nebraska
Jo Silvestri, Nevada
Rich Tomasso, New Hampshire
Jay Edgar, New Jersey
Jay Vandersloot, New Mexico
Mark Axinn, New York
Barbara Howe, North Carolina
Richard Ames, North Dakota
Kevin Knedler, Ohio and LNC Representative
Angelia O'Dell, Oklahoma
Jeff Weston, Oregon
Mik Robertson, Pennsylvania
David Bibeault, Rhode Island
Michael Carmany, South Carolina
Tony Ryan, South Dakota
John Sebastian, Tennessee
Patrick Dixon, Texas
W. Andy McCullough, Utah
Jeremy Ryan, Vermont
Wilbur (Bill) Wood, Virginia
Rachel Hawkridge, Washington and LNC Representative
Kyle Hartz, Washington D.C.
Tad Britch, West Virginia
Ben Olson, Wisconsin
Don Wills, Wyoming
Mark Hinkle, LNC Chair
Mark Rutherford, LNC Vice Chair
Alicia Mattson, LNC Secretary
James Oaksun, LNC Treasurer
David Nolan, LNC Representative
William Redpath, LNC Representative
Wayne Allyn Root, LNC Representative
Mary Ruwart, LNC Representative
Doug Craig, LNC Representative
Stewart Flood, LNC Representative
Daniel Wiener, LNC Representative
Rebecca Sink-Burris, LNC Representative
Norman Olsen, LNC Representative
Dr. James W. Lark, III, LNC Representative
Daniel Karlan, LNC Representative
Dianna Visek, LNC Representative
For more information, or to arrange an interview, call LP Executive Director Wes Benedict at 202-333-0008 ext. 222.
The LP is America's third-largest political party, founded in 1971. The Libertarian Party stands for free markets and civil liberties. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party at our website.