Georgians have a little left from what our Founders gave us.
Sadly, much of our inheritance has been frittered away by
politicians who claim to be conservative protectors of the
Constitution they declared to protect and preserve.
While "the consent of the governed" has been victimized in one
after another attempts to secretly skirt the light of day in cases like the infamous land grab bill, SB 5, voices of constitutional principle such as the Georgia
Heritage Council have forced a retrieval to more appropriate
This is all about a decision by the U. S. Supreme Court, the
Kelo Decision, from which a majority of one justice defined a method
for government to claim private property for private use in
contravention to the Constitution which has always limited Eminent
Domain to legal land acquisition for essential public use.
The decision by the Supreme Court left a opportunity for
states to enact Constitutional Amendments that defined or restricted
what property could be legally seized by the state.
Many states have enacted such an amendment, others, including
Georgia, have the question pending for upcoming elections where the
people still have the right of "consent of the governed" as opposed
to the legislature where more than 70% of the seats are not even
contested in the same November election as permeated by Georgia's ancient incumbent protection laws.
Unfortunately, it's not as constitutionally clean as the
Perdue administration and the Republican majority in the legislature
would like to have you believe.
Let's examine the proposed amendment. The champion for a
strict Eminent Domain Amendment in the Georgia Senate is Senator
Jeff Chapman (R) of St. Simons. He prepared and had on its way to
passage a protective amendment that would clarify constitutional
protections in the taking of land in Georgia.
Then, some strange things happened behind the scenes, which shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with
the current legislature where the unexpected is expected. Senator
Chapman was removed as the mentor of the Eminent Domain
Constitutional Amendment and in his place, Governor Sonny Perdue
took control and guided a completely different proposed amendment
through the legislative process. This is the same governor who told
a group of conservatives (me among them) that he doesn't interfere
with the legislative process. He was selectively speaking of the
referendum on the state flag.
The proposed amendment that emerged is not the strict
construction of the Constitution that Senator Chapman proposed.
While it does define rigorous steps which must be taken to take land
it does provide a way for developers to do just that in partnership
with a benevolent government. It does indeed provide a path to take
private land and allow it to be filtered through government for
private use and profit. And of course, there are still bills pending
to enable governments to "partner" with developers SECRETLY behind
closed doors for the purpose of such land grabs.
Please check out our commentaries on Commutarianism and its growing popularity among
a certain sect of Republicans.
The question all of us should be considering is WHY was
Senator Chapman unceremoniously removed from the leadership of this
amendment? Even more important, why was it necessary to have the
governor himself, rather than Senate leaders, guide this legislation
through the process. I think I have a pretty good answer to that
question. Perhaps you're ahead of me when you consider some other land related ventures from which the governor has unquestionably personally profited.
The next question you need to consider is whether we the
people consent to this Constitutional Amendment in its present
form, or do we want to turn it down and send it back to the
legislature and give Jeff Chapman another chance to protect our
Constitution? Maybe this time without interference from the governor
who "never involves himself in legislative matters."
No wonder a journalist described the official Georgia state sign as "Sonny Lies."
Lest you feel your rights have totally gone, just one fourth
of you, yes, 25% plus one, voting against this amendment can
reinforce those sacred words "consent of the governed". Vote "NO" to
force the legislature to address Eminent Domain again.
For further information on the land grab business, I commend
the current article by Phyllis Schlafly to your attention.
Jeff Davis is a retired radio-TV
journalist living in Gainesville, GA. Active in civic and political
affairs, he is past president of the Georgia Jaycees, former vice
president of the US and the world Jaycees, former campaign chairman
of the Georgia Republican party. He voluntarily serves as chairman
of the Georgia Heritage Council. He is a collateral descendant of
President Jefferson Davis.
For more information: http://GeorgiaHeritageCouncil.org