Eminent domain remains a popular campaign issue. John McCain recently repeated his criticism of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo decision. In Kelo, the Court held that the use of eminent domain to acquire property for “economic development” was not unconstitutional.
On May 6, 2008, McCain reiterated his feelings during a speech regarding his judicial philosophy and said:
The year 2005 also brought the case of Susette Kelo before the Supreme Court. Here was a woman whose home was taken from her because the local government and a few big corporations had designs of their own on the land, and she was getting in the way. There is hardly a clearer principle in all the Constitution than the right of private property. There is a very clear standard in the Constitution requiring not only just compensation in the use of eminent domain, but also that private property may be taken only for “public use.” But apparently that standard has been “evolving” too. In the hands of a narrow majority of the court, even the basic right of property doesn’t mean what we all thought it meant since the founding of America. A local government seized the private property of an American citizen. It gave that property away to a private developer. And this power play actually got the constitutional “thumbs-up” from five members of the Supreme Court.
Eminent domain is likely to remain a local and national topic during this campaign year.