JOHN NORQUIST: Well, I think that's the potential. It's shocking, really. The founders of the country put the word "public use" in the 5th Amendment for a reason, because they wanted property rights to be part of our democracy. And there are really legitimate reasons for condemnation, not just public works but sometimes clearing lands so that it can environmentally repaired. There are all kinds of good reasons to do it. But this opens it up to virtually anything; any municipality could say "Well, the land will be more valuable."This is an issue that should worry liberals as much as private property-minded conservatives because of the very real possibility of politically-connected developers driving out homeowners, small businesses owners and others with less influence.
In reaction to the court decision, Eugene Volokh mentions that Senator Cornyn (R-TX) has proposed a bill limiting the government’s eminent domain powers in the aptly titled: S. 1313, "The Protection of Homes, Small Businesses, and Private Property Act of 2005:
(a) . . . The power of eminent domain shall be available only for public use.
(b) . . . In this Act, the term "public use" shall not be construed to include economic development.
(c) . . . This act shall apply to (1) all exercises of eminent domain power by the Federal Government; and (2) all exercises of eminent domain power by State and local government through the use of Federal funds.
And for more reaction, check out Virginia Postrel’s blog.