July 11, 2006

Gov. Huckabee on Eminent Domain

By Gov. Huckabee on Eminent Domain

by Steven Geoffrey Gieseler

Among the craftiest maneuvers of the judicial enablers of eminent domain abuse was the transformation of the "public use" requirement of the Fifth Amendment into the vague "public purpose" standard that now controls.

According to the Associated Press, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee–a Republican thought to be planning a run for the White House–doesn't mind sliding down the proverbial slippery slope.  The Governor sees no problem with eminent domain

"if the government is taking land after a very thorough process to build something of public interest."

This is not quite the language I hope to hear from someone who positions himself as a strong defender of property rights.

In fairness to Governor Huckabee, his remarks were offered at a news conference, so this could be an example of careless phrasing.  But the reference to "a very thorough process"–as if, by analogy, robberies by meticulous, far-sighted bandits are more acceptable than those committed by hasty, slapdash ones–doesn't do much to afford him the benefit of the doubt.

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