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One of the biggest excuses given by the Iowa Senate for not wanting to enact meaningful legislation protecting the personal property Rights of Iowans is the 2005 decision in Kelo vs. the City of New London in which SCOTUS found that taking personal property for the public “benefit” (i.e. private companies desires for profits) was equivalent to the constitutional test for public “use” (i.e. public infrastructure). It is said that passing legislation that would override that decision, would end is a court case challenging its validity. Yes, that is the point.

The other night I was on a conference call with our new, very constitutional, Attorney General, Brenna Bird, and I posed this question to her; “What is your opinion of SCOTUS’ eminent domain decision in Kelo vs. the City of New London and would you be supportive of any legislation passed by the Iowa Legislature that would challenge it?”

Her answer was that SCOTUS’ decision was “flawed” and that her job was to defend the Constitution and our Rights under it. If the Iowa Legislature passed a constitutional law concerning eminent domain that challenged Kelo, she would defend it.

Senators, you swore to defend the United States and Iowa Constitutions and your constituents’ rights under them. The Right to be secure in our property is one of the foundational tenants of our Republic; the Iowa Republican State Platform (which I made sure all of you have an annotated copy of) clearly states in the Liberty Section, Number Six: “We oppose government using eminent domain to take private property away from the owner for the use of another private party.” and is supported by all four Congressional Districts Platforms, 1st, Property 6; 2nd, Property 6; 3rd, Property 3.3; 4th, Property 6; and this is an issue that has united citizens on both sides aisle in asking for the protection. So what is the hold-up?

Plessy v. Ferguson, SCOTUS’ decision allowing racial segregation, took almost 60 years to be challenged and overturned. Roe v. Wade took almost 50 years to be challenged and overturned. How long do we have to wait on Kelo? Have some guts, do your job, and pass something that can be used to protect and restore Iowans, and all Americans, citizens’ Rights. I think you would find the new conservative Court in your favor. Do you have the will to do it?

Author: Thomas Hansen


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