An amendment on property rights pretends to solve a problem already addressed by state law.
Most Virginians who vote next month to amend the state constitution’s property rights protections will do so believing they are preventing governments from condemning land in order to give it to private businesses for economic development projects.
In reality, that practice has been illegal in Virginia for five years. The General Assembly banned takings for private development in response to the infamous U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Kelo v. City of New London. Advocates of the constitutional amendment acknowledge that the law has accomplished its goal, yet they argue constitutional restrictions are necessary to discourage as yet unhatched plots to nullify the statute.