Monday, July 18, 2005

Eminent Quandary

In one of the most precious examples of how difficult it is to remain consistent about eminent domain, the Sun reported last Friday that Congressman Major Owens, after composing a rap poem blasting eminent domain, had voted against the Garrett amendment which would have limited federal funds for some private projects that make use of eminent domain.

Since neither the congressman or his spokespersons were available for comment it was left to Chris Owen, his son and a candidate for the office, to explain the apparent inconsistency (hypocrisy). Young Mr. Owens justified his father’s vote by saying he believed the language of the amendment wasn’t “specific enough” because “you’re opening the door to stopping things that are justified.” In addition, he said that he might support its use for economic development in some instances.

All of which leaves us in very murky waters indeed since Owens junior doesn’t specify und what conditions government taking might be justified. Are we to make these decisions ad hoc, so to speak, since it appears that Owens isn’t ready to strongly support the concept of private property rights?