Call for National Law to mitigate the decision of the Supreme Court in the matter of Kelo vs. New London and to protect American Citizens from future eminent domain violations sign now

To: U.S. Congress

This petition has been created to call for quick and effective national legislative action to mitigate pending and future damage to private property owners resulting from the Supreme Court Ruling in the matter of Kelo vs. New London. This petition is additive to efforts to obtain constitutional amendment for the same purpose and is intended to support movement towards swift relief that can be enabled by legislative processes that are more timely than the constitutional amendment process.

These proposed laws would not completely repeal the recent decision nor remove the ability of a government from taking property for legitimate "public use" purposes. These proposed laws seek to rebalance the economic equation to a more equitable equilibrium.

We support creation of a national law with full enforceement in all Fedeal, State and Local jurisidictions that provides the following clarifications to the "emminent domain" powers of all government entities:

1. Where "emminent domain" is utilized for the purpose of taking of property, that "just compensation" shall be no less than the sum of fair market value as determined by a third party, all reasonable relocation costs, reasonable costs associated with business interruption, fees to terminate any contracts associated with the property and an additonal "heirloom value" of additional 100\% of the fair market value for any residential property that has been owned and occupied by the same owner or linear descendent family for 25 years or more.

2. Where "emminent domain" is utilized for the purpose of taking of property and where said property is conveyed by lease or sale to the beneficial ownership of a for-profit private party within 10 years of the taking, that "just compensation" shall be no less than 200\% of the amount defined in paragraph 1.

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution says in part, private properties shall not be taken for public use, without just compensation. The decision of the Supreme Court allowed the city of New London to take private property not for Public use, But for the private use of the New London Development Corporation to generate tax revenue.

We, The Undersigned, urge Congress to take direct action in creating a law to protect all private property owners from future eminent Domain violations, Whether it be by State or Federal agencies.

[Case reference for petition]

Kelo v. New London:

The city of New London, Connecticut had by the early 2000s fallen on hard economic times. The city's tax base and population were continually decreasing, and city leaders were growing desperate for some form of economic development. In 1998, the pharmaceutical company Pfizer began construction of a major research facility on the outskirts of the Fort Trumbull neighborhood of New London. Seeing an opportunity, the city of New London created the New London Development Corporation, a private entity under the control of the city government, to consider plans to redevelop the Fort Trumbull neighborhood and encourage new economic activities that might be brought in by the Pfizer plant.

The development corporation created a development plan that included a resort hotel and conference center, a new state park, 80-100 new residences, and various research, office, and retail space. The plan divided the area into six parcels, but did not specify the exact plans for development in any but the first parcel (the resort hotel and conference center). The city in 2000 approved the development plan and authorized the corporation to acquire land in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood.

Fort Trumbull was an older neighborhood, some 90 acres (364,000 mІ) in size and including 115 residential and commercial lots. The development corporation offered to purchase all 115 lots; however, 15 of the landowners did not wish to sell to the corporation. Among these 15 landowners were the lead plaintiffs in this case, Susette Kelo, who owned a small home on the Thames River in the development area.

The city of New London chose to exercise its right of eminent domain. The city ordered the development corporation, a private entity acting as the city's legally appointed agent, to condemn the 15 holdout owners' lots.

The owners sued the city in Connecticut courts, arguing that the city had misused its eminent domain power. This power extends from the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which says in part that "private property [shall not] be taken for public use, without just compensation." Kelo et al argued that economic development, the stated purpose of the Development Corporation, did not qualify as public use.

This case was the first major eminent domain case heard at the Supreme Court in more than forty years. In that time, states and municipalities had slowly extended their use of eminent domain, frequently to include economic development purposes. In the Kelo case, there was an additional twist in that the development corporation was ostensibly a private entity; thus the plaintiffs argued that it was not constitutional for the government to take private property from one individual or corporation and give it to another, simply because the other might put the property to a use that would generate higher tax revenue.

The first eminent domain case since Berman to reach the Supreme Court, Kelo became the focus of vigorous discussion and attracted numerous supporters on both sides. Some 40 amicus curiae briefs were filed in the case, 25 on behalf of the petitioners.

The Supreme Court decision:

The case was argued on February 22, 2005. The case was heard by only seven members of the court with Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor presiding, as Chief Justice William Rehnquist was recuperating from medical treatment at home and Associate Justice John Paul Stevens was delayed on his return to Washington from Florida; both men read the briefs and oral argument transcripts and will participate in the case decision.

On June 23, 2005, The Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision has agreed with the City of New London.

[End Case reference for petition]

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