Hot Air exclusive: Rubio speaks out against abuse of eminent domain

posted at 8:01 am on October 8, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

Hot Air is pleased to provide Senator Marco Rubio with an opportunity to speak directly to voters in this guest column.

One of conservatism’s highest priorities must always be to defend the timelessness of our people’s fundamental rights. The right to life, the right to religious liberty, the right to bear arms – these rights have no expiration date. Instead, their importance increases with the passage of time. Sometimes, because it is so rarely discussed, it is easy to forget one of the other basic rights our government was established to defend, and that is the right to property.

Though it may not make headlines as often as other issues, the fundamental right to private property has been under assault for years through our government’s abuses of eminent domain. Eminent domain is the authority vested in government to force the sale of private property. While this authority can be a necessary evil in rare cases related to public development, such as the building of crucial infrastructure, its modern use far exceeds this limitation. Today, it is often wielded by crony capitalist politicians to benefit wealthy and powerful private developers.

One of my proudest accomplishments as a public servant was leading the effort in Florida to pass both a law and a constitutional amendment to keep private developers from using eminent domain to take property away from private owners. This effort became necessary after the egregiously flawed Kelo v. New London Supreme Court decision made private use of eminent domain legal unless states banned it. In the years since, the legislation I passed in the Florida House has become a model for states across the country.

As a result of these reforms, Florida now has some of the strongest laws in the nation protecting homes, businesses, and even houses of worship from being seized by private developers. This effort earned the state of Florida an “A” grade from the Castle Coalition, which is a nationwide organization established to defend private property from undue seizure.

Like the defense of other crucial rights, conservative efforts to defend private property are grounded deep in the history of our nation. In fact, abuses of this right were one of the catalysts for the American Revolution. As the first Continental Congress declared, “[The colonists] are entitled to life, liberty and property: and they have never ceded to any foreign power … a right to dispose of either without their consent.”

After being founded, in part, to protect these rights, our government has strayed far from this purpose. Compromise after compromise from elected officials in both parties has resulted in a government that believes it has the power to seize your property and sell it to rent-seeking private interests. When I am president, through the justices I nominate to the Supreme Court and the legislation I sign into law, I will stand firmly against the abuse of eminent domain.

Hot Air will be happy to provide other presidential candidates an open forum for guest essays as well.


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Comment pages: 1 5 6 7

Tell me more, oh Constitutional Scholars, on the meaning of the 5th Amendment phrase “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

Skipity on October 8, 2015 at 4:01 PM

I don’t know what the authors of that phrase originally intended, but it was right around that time that the field of Economics was discovering that the only “just compensation” is that which is voluntarily agreed upon by both the seller and the buyer.

My thought is that the 5th Amendment is overdue for a update.

TBSchemer on October 8, 2015 at 6:19 PM

When they don’t agree, they go to court, whereupon the governing (local) body gets the first say in “just”.

That’s how eminent domain has been done since forever.

nobar on October 8, 2015 at 5:45 PM

If it’s not for sale, then no price is “just.”

TBSchemer on October 8, 2015 at 6:20 PM

So why did you claim that Trump’s position was no big deal because the seller would be paid “above market price” when the entire purposed of eminent domain is exactly to pay the seller bellow market price?

That’s another straight lie. I never said anything about it being a big deal because …All I said was – Trump’s full statement wasn’t as cold as the headline. That’s it. That’s all I wrote. You reposted it (?for some reason?) and the reposting was exactly the way I described it.
I even repeated that I wasn’t supporting Trump’s position several times to you – last night and in this thread even. It’s a complicated issue.

I did say it wasn’t a big deal in terms of the election. And I’m right. But not in the post you referenced.

You just lie and troll. I’ll remember that. Engaging you in conversation gets sticky.

BoxHead1 on October 8, 2015 at 6:25 PM

If it’s not for sale, then no price is “just.”

TBSchemer on October 8, 2015 at 6:20 PM

Alright then, there is no “takings” clause in your view of the constitution.

A perfectly fine viewpoint, but extremely minority.

nobar on October 8, 2015 at 6:28 PM

Tell me more, oh Constitutional Scholars, on the meaning of the 5th Amendment phrase “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
Skipity on October 8, 2015 at 4:01 PM

What good is the wording “private property” if a decision about said property can be made without owner’s consent?

anuts on October 8, 2015 at 6:36 PM

What good is the wording “private property” if a decision about said property can be made without owner’s consent?

anuts on October 8, 2015 at 6:36 PM

The controlling locality is the one who defines private, and thus, Kelo becomes a state and city level problem (which, incidentally 44 have amended against it).

nobar on October 8, 2015 at 6:42 PM

The controlling locality is the one who defines private, and thus, Kelo becomes a state and city level problem (which, incidentally 44 have amended against it).
nobar on October 8, 2015 at 6:42 PM

Great… A transaction of money and a deed between two compliant parties agreeing with the terms of a contract is meaningless.

This is not a “wonderful” concept. Not even remotely.

anuts on October 8, 2015 at 7:00 PM

Summation. Ed’s tagline. Partial quote from this rubio, (now all in lower case), thread. I cannot disagree with this statement.

“[T]he fundamental right to private property has been under assault for years…”

Bmore on October 8, 2015 at 7:18 PM

anuts on October 8, 2015 at 7:00 PM

I’m not saying that it is. I’m just giving you the out (the 2005 congressional session neglected to amend the constitution, so there went the national opportunity).

nobar on October 8, 2015 at 7:28 PM

I’m not saying that it is. I’m just giving you the out (the 2005 congressional session neglected to amend the constitution, so there went the national opportunity).
nobar on October 8, 2015 at 7:28 PM

No, I know you’re not saying it’s wonderful. A certain nominee that seems to be popular with fellow commenters here says it’s wonderful.

Apologies for the confusion.

anuts on October 8, 2015 at 8:23 PM

Shut up Amnesty pig Rubio. Legalizing tens of millions of left wing immigrants and you want to pretend it’s about Imminent Domain.

DaMav on October 8, 2015 at 8:45 PM

Shut up Amnesty pig Rubio. Legalizing tens of millions of left wing immigrants and you want to pretend it’s about Imminent Domain.

DaMav on October 8, 2015 at 8:45 PM

Dumba$$ Trumpettes can’t even spell.

TBSchemer on October 8, 2015 at 10:11 PM

Here’s something I don’t understand:

There are a few Trumpettes who are reasonably articulate. So why would you want to be associated with such a low-brow bunch of buffoons? Haven’t you considered that the lack of intellect and knowledge amongst your allies may be a sign that you’re on the wrong side?

I’ve seen several studies at this point demonstrating that the strongest common thread between Trump supporters is a lack of intellectual capabilities. Trump supporters, on average, are less educated, less articulate, and less skilled (professionally) than the average Republican.

Why would you want to be a part of that?

TBSchemer on October 8, 2015 at 10:28 PM

If it’s not for sale, then no price is “just.”

TBSchemer on October 8, 2015 at 6:20 PM

Alright then, there is no “takings” clause in your view of the constitution.

A perfectly fine viewpoint, but extremely minority.

nobar on October 8, 2015 at 6:28 PM

My guess is that government telling you what your property is worth and giving you what it wants to give you for it would be unpopular with the majority if they understood what eminent domain has become under Kelo.

V7_Sport on October 8, 2015 at 11:18 PM

My guess is that government telling you what your property is worth and giving you what it wants to give you for it would be unpopular with the majority if they understood what eminent domain has become under Kelo.

V7_Sport on October 8, 2015 at 11:18 PM

No, it started well before that, specifically when property taxes came into existence.
And we have long since consigned ourselves to accept them.

nobar on October 9, 2015 at 12:15 AM

Cruz,……. rubio, (now all in lower case).

Bmore on October 9, 2015 at 12:28 AM

Thumbs up Marco..Nice column..+ 100..:)

Dire Straits on October 9, 2015 at 1:42 AM

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