NRO on Tomorrow's Eminent Domain Meeting in Montgomery: From Rosa Parks to Kelo
What is happening to property owners in Montgomery? Jimmy McCall would like to know. Last year, the city government went back on an agreement and used a “blight” law and demolished his house, then under construction. “It was my dream house,” he laments, “and the city tore it down. . . . It reminds me of how they used to mistreat black people in the Old South.”
McCall, like thousands of other Americans, is on the receiving end of eminent domain through the back door. In contrast to the standard eminent-domain process, property owners do not have any right to compensation. Minorities are typically the first victims. Ironically, the hometown of Rosa Parks appears to be one of the areas targeted for this form of blatant property-rights abuse. For more on the Montgomery situation, see here.
Alabama has gained national notoriety for eminent-domain abuses in the past, most notably in the Alabaster case heavily publicized by nationally syndicated radio talk-show host Neal Boortz.
On April 29, Alabamans who have similar stories of property-rights abuse are urged to come to a community forum of the State Advisory Committee (which I chair) of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, “Civil Rights Implications of Eminent Domain Policies and Practices in Alabama.” The forum (see agenda here) will be from 9AM to 5PM on April 29 at the Montgomery Campus of Troy University in the Gold Room of the Whitley Conference Hall. The street address is 231 Montgomery Street, Montgomery, AL 36104.
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