Rehberg, House Pass Legislation to Protect Private Property Rights

February 29, 2012
CONTACT: Jed Link, 202-225-3211

Rehberg Introduced Original 2005 Legislation To Correct Kelo v. City of New London Decision

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Montana’s Congressman, Denny Rehberg,  joined House colleagues in passing H.R. 1433, the Private Property Rights Protection Act.  This badly needed legislation would correct a dangerous expansion of eminent domain authority by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Kelo v. City of New London.  In that case, eminent domain was used to seize land for the purpose of economic development – not public use.  Rehberg introduced similar legislation in 2005 – the Private Property Protection Act (then H.R. 3083).

“There aren’t many things more important than property rights, especially in a state like Montana where the land plays such a big part in our day-to-day lives,” said Rehberg.  “In 2005, the Supreme Court made a dangerous decision to put property rights at risk by expanding the government’s authority to seize it by force.  In recent years, we’ve seen the federal government giving business cronies on Wall Street and K Street billions of dollars in tax payer bailouts.  Who’s to say handing over our private property isn’t next?  That’s why we needed this bill when I introduced similar language in 2005, and it’s why I hope the Senate acts quickly to get this to the President.”

In Kelo v. City of New London, the High Court ruled governments may seize homes, small businesses, and other private property to further economic development.  This is a significant expansion of the authority of eminent domain, which traditionally has been reserved for cases of public use and public welfare.

Among other things, the Private Property Rights Protection Act restricts the power of states or local governments that receive federal economic development funds to use eminent domain over property intended for economic development.  Essentially, it argues that the public benefit of economic development is not a sufficient public use to warrant the revocation of private property.

“Property was listed among the three unalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence – the document that shaped the very creation of our nation,” said Rehberg.

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