Eminent Domain Task Force Work Ends in Uncertainty
by Timothy Sandefur
Before its Supreme Court stepped in to protect property owners a few days ago, Ohio was among the worst abusers of eminent domain. In response to the uproar about the Kelo decision, the state legislature passed a meaningless one-year moratorium on eminent domain and created a bureaucratic commission to write a report about eminent domain, which the legislature could simply ignore if it wanted to. Many of us complained at the time that this was a bureaucratic delaying tactic intended to preserve eminent domain powers. And, sure enough:
Despite an immense amount of work by a phalanx of experienced attorneys and association representatives, with testimony having been heard at locations around the state from dozens of interested citizens and representatives of interested agencies such as the Ohio Department of Transportation, task force members found themselves uncertain of the results Monday.
Grendell described the members as "punchy" as the eight-hour session wrapped up, and Cincinnati-area attorney Richard Tranter half-jokingly and half-seriously told the several legislative members that politics would be more important than the task force's work.
"You guys are going to do what you want on this," Tranter said. "Who are we fooling?"