Berkley Votes to Protect Private Property Owners by Limiting Eminent Domain For Economic Development
Congresswoman Cites Pappas Case in Floor Remarks Supporting Measure
Congresswoman Shelley Berkley voted yesterday in favor of legislation that would limit the use of eminent domain powers for economic redevelopment. H.R. 4128, the Private Property Protection Act of 2005, passed the House on a vote of 376 to 38. Prior to the vote, Berkley delivered the following remarks n the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives:
"Our Nation's eminent domain laws exist to help our communities, not to deprive Americans of their businesses and homes. For 11 years, Harry Pappas and his family battled to win back property taken from them in downtown Las Vegas, property which they rightfully owned and that was home to seven shops the family leased to other businesses for more than 40 years. This was a 40-year holding of one family in Las Vegas.
"In 1994, the Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency notified Mrs. Pappas that they were condemning her property. At a hearing only 7 days later, it was decided that the agency would take immediate possession of the property, and the family business promptly demolished.
"The Pappases' dreams were torn down with the building they lost that day, and their dignity was taken from them as they were forced to watch as a for-profit parking garage was built on their family property.
"The Pappas family took their case all the way to the United States Supreme Court, hoping that the justices would recognize their fundamental rights under our Constitution. But they were turned away by the Supreme Court, and their case seeking justice was dismissed.
" So now it is up to us, the United States Congress, to protect other families against the injustice that has been done to the Pappases as a result of the ever-growing expansion of eminent domain. Voting to limit the use of eminent domain for economic development will restore the rightful limits on this power that have been eroded by time. It is time to protect the Harry Pappases of the world."