Open Source Amendment Project Completed
The right to ownership of property being the cornerstone of liberty, no government, or agency thereof, within these United States shall have the authority to take property from any person, corporation, or organization through exercise of eminent domain for other than a public use without just compensation.
Public use shall be understood to be property the government owns or retains the paramount interest in, and the public has a legal right to use. Public use shall be understood to include property the government owns and maintains as a secure facility. Public use shall not be construed to include economic development or increased tax revenue. Public use of such property shall be maintained for a period of not less than 25 years.
Just compensation shall be the higher of twice the average of the price paid for similar property in the preceding six months, or twice the average of the previous 10 recorded similar property transactions. Compensation paid shall be exempt from taxation in any form by any government within these United States.
There has been some thoughtful criticism with our idea of amending the Constitution. Some have said the ‘takings clause’ of the Fifth Amendment is perfect as it is. I would have to disagree. Right or wrong (wrong), 5 of the nine Justices on the Supreme Court took the takings clause to mean governments can take property from one private entity and give or sell it to another. The Fifth Amendment is due for some clarification.
I do not buy into this idea that the Constitution is a living, breathing document. The English language and the world, however; is living and breathing. What I mean is that language evolves; meanings and understanding of words change. Also, we have to think about nuances in the country and the world.
Back when Madison penned the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, he had no way of foreseeing the multi-national corporations we have today. It never occurred to the founders that someday a big-box store such as Wal-Mart or The Home Depot would have so much influence over the political process on every level of government. Clearly, Madison et al believed that the government would take property as a last resort and only for what they believed to be legitimate functions of government. Over the 200 plus years of the history of the United States, ‘legitimate functions of government’ has also evolved.
I believe this proposed amendment is much less ambiguous than the takings clause of the Fifth. Is it perfect? No. Remember though, perfect is the enemy of good. In my estimation, this amendment is good and would be good for our country and its citizens. If you agree with me, join the Open Source effort and sign the petition. Another letter to your congressman wouldn’t hurt anything either.