Monday, February 5, 2007

General Assembly tackles eminent domain

Not many of us really understand the law regarding eminent domain. With that as a backdrop, it's unnerving to think that the General Assembly is considering a constitutional amendment limiting its use. I think it's generally agreed that the locality, any locality, usually takes property from the lower to middle income areas of its jurisdiction for schools, roads, or redevelopment. That's not completely fair. It's even less fair when the property is taken simply because the new use would increase the tax base of the locality. Having said that, amending the Virginia Bill of Rights seems inappropriate. Maybe it's a better idea than amending the Virginia Code, I don't know, but the rights granted to Virginians by James Madison, George Mason, and Thomas Jefferson served us rather well, thank you, without the need for politicians to recommend amendment of our Constitution on a regular basis.