The Open Source Amendment Project began in response to the Supreme Court decision in the case Kelo v. New London. The Supreme Court ruled in a 5 – 4 decision that the City of New London, CT could take several properties under eminent domain making the actions goal of increasing tax revenue a Constitutionally valid public use under the Fifth Amendment.
The Project began with a draught amendment posted to the my personal weblog Hold The Mayo. The Project then actively sought input from other bloggers interested in protecting property rights. After much debate via the comments at Hold The Mayo and other weblogs, and numerous revisions, The Open Source Amendment Project released its final amendment and a petition to Congress to amend the Constitution.
The President of the United States.
The Vice President of The United States
The Members of the United States Senate
The Members of the United States House of Representatives
The Members of the United States Supreme Court
In the Declaration of Independence the founders of this great nation wrote, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” They also built into the structure of our government a process by which we the people can seek to change the nature and function of our government without abolishing it and beginning again.
We the undersigned agree with our founders that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed and feel that our government has exceeded the bounds of that consent. We believe that the recent decision of the Supreme Court regarding the exercise of eminent domain was reached with complete disregard for the plain language of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.
We the people therefore ask that the Constitution of the United States be amended to include the following language:
The right to ownership of property being the cornerstone of liberty, no government, or agency thereof, within these United States shall have the authority to take property from any person, corporation, or organization through exercise of eminent domain for other than a public use without just compensation.
Public use shall be understood to be property the government owns or retains the paramount interest in, and the public has a legal right to use. Public use shall be understood to include property the government owns and maintains as a secure facility. Public use shall not be construed to include economic development or increased tax revenue. Public use of such property shall be maintained for a period of not less than 25 years.
Just compensation shall be the higher of twice the average of the price paid for similar property in the preceding six months, or twice the average of the previous 10 recorded similar property transactions. Compensation paid shall be exempt from taxation in any form by any government within these United States.
The Open Source Amendment Project hopes to generate support across the internet to get the amendment to congress.
The process of amending the Constitution is difficult. As it should be. The first hurdle is getting the amendment before Congress. If enough people get behind the effort we should be able to get someone to listen. There are 535 elected members of congress. I hope there is at least one with and interest in preserving the property rights of individuals.