Letter to the Editor

Ruling is blow to property owners

Thursday, June 30, 2005

To the editor:

The U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling on eminent domain was a blow to landowners, whether they be residential, small businesses or farmers. This ruling will allow the taking of property from one private person and giving it to another private person if higher taxes will be achieved.

Condemning property for economic development, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, is deemed good for the public. Bringing in more revenue for a community is said to benefit the public, but in reality it will make all private property vulnerable to government takings. How will this benefit the public?

Residential areas will not be safe, because they will never be able to generate more tax revenue than large corporations. This is also true for small businesses and farmers. This decision will kill the entrepreneurial spirit.

The Supreme Court made its decision on a 5-4 vote. Justices who supported that idea were Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and John Paul Stevens. Justices who opposed this decision and stood for private property rights were Sandra Day O'Connor, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

As a state representative, I will continue to try and strengthen our state statutes by placing a higher value on the private property rights of individuals. It is a sad state of affairs when the U.S. Supreme Court weakens the powers of the states and abandons the public all in the name of money.

BELINDA HARRIS, State Representative, District 110, Hillsboro, Mo.