Patrick Bohan for Congress: Property Rights

The Constitution’s taking’s clause (Fifth Amendment) provides that the government may take private property only for public uses and with just compensation. For instance, the government may take property to build public roads if the owner is properly compensated for the confiscated property. The decline in property rights began in the 1954 case Berman v. Parker. In this case, the Court held that “blighted” property may be taken for public benefit instead of for public use. Property rights were further stripped in the 2005 case Kelo v. New London. In this case, the Court held that taking well maintained property for both public and private benefit was also permissible. In Kelo, the Court reasoned the public could benefit from job creation and increased tax revenue by removing homes in favor of new businesses. If Kelo is the standard, then no one’s property is safe from government confiscation. Of course, just compensation is needed, but even then, the government routinely violates this obligation. In both Penn Central v. New York and Sierra-Tahoe v. Tahoe Reginal Planning Association the Court denied the expansion of a private business and the building of a home on private property respectively, without compensating the owners. Furthermore, renters of homes and apartments receive no compensation if they are forced onto the streets. To make matters worse, many people renting in "blighted" neighborhoods may have no prospects of finding a new home if the building they reside in is confiscated.