Monday, June 27, 2005

Demand more from Frist

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss has spoken out against the Kelo decision:
“This shouldn’t happen in America,” continued Sen. Chambliss. “The Kelo case is a troublesome expansion of the power of local governments to confiscate private property. This case appears to allow seizure of homes owned by lower-and middle-income people to benefit the wealthy and powerful. Congress needs to take a look at what we need to do to restore the protections of the Fifth Amendment to property owners in our country.”

Bravo. Unfortunately, Senator Bill Frist (perhaps mindful that big business contributions are necessary for his presidential run) was a bit more muted in his response:
"[T'here are many important questions that we need to consider. How can we be sure that a public purpose is served, when government transfers property from one private owner to another? Does this decision give governments too much power over private property owners? What assurances do Americans have, those who work so hard to buy their own homes, that government will not take those homes away? Will this decision give undue advantages to politically connected developers and wealthy individuals?

“Private property has long been a cornerstone of the Constitution and our American society. Indeed, our economy is based on the principle of private ownership of property.

"It was John Adams who said ‘Property is surely a right of mankind as real as liberty.’

"Any infringement on that right cannot be undertaken lightly. We should give careful consideration to these questions and explore the practical implications of this decision.”

This is called "lip service." With all due respect, Senator Frist, we need action, not words. Frist says:
”The concern here -- as voiced by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in her dissent -- is that "under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner." Indeed, I share that concern.

Sorry, Senator, but "I share that concern" is a little too much like "I feel your pain." Don't share our concern--do something about it.