Charlotte, NC — “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
The 5A is broad, sweeping, and covers a lot of ground, but the clause most relevant in today’s news is the Takings Clause: “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” If Pres. Trump is re-elected this November, then the 5A is going to be a common subject in the nightly news. Why? The border wall with Mexico.
Conservatives don’t want to hear this fact but if a true end-to-end border wall is to be built with Mexico, then the US government will have to do so at the expense of private property owners. Family farms will have to be seized. Hunting land will be bull-dozed. Streams will be disrupted. Animal migratory patterns will be stopped. For now, it seems all of this is going to be legal under the doctrine of Eminent Domain – the mechanism by which the US Government may seize your private land and use it for its own purposes as long as it can prove the land will be used for “public use”.
The land seizures for the US-Mexico border wall began in earnest following the passage of the Secure Fence Act of 2006. Including those Senators who voted “Yea” for the Act was Sen. Joe Biden. However, Biden now contradicts his previous views.
Biden states through his official campaign website: “His (Trump’s) obsession with building a wall does nothing to address security challenges while costing taxpayers billions of dollars. Most contraband comes in through our legal ports of entry.” So, regardless of whatever mindless garbage Biden is being told to say by the left-wing radicals of the DNC leadership, his voting record supports governmental expansion by private land seizures.
Property seizure is not unprecedented in US history. Perhaps the most infamous examples came from the New Deal-era. In the wake of the Great Depression, Congress authorized the creation of a federally-owned corporation called the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The TVA would go on to build dams for the production of hydroelectric energy but in the process would flood private farms that had sat on the river valleys since before the American Revolution.
Homes were destroyed and lives were lost in the floods. The stories of destruction have remained alive in folklore in the southeastern US for the nearly 100 years since the destruction (for example, see the song Mountain Man by ‘Mountain Heart’).
Assuming Pres. Trump is reelected this November, the ‘Takings Clause’ of the 5A will continue to be invoked for land seizure along the southern border. One Laredo area group, however, is challenging the White House in its efforts. Zapata County and landowners Melisa Cigarroa and George Rincon are challenging the legality of the border wall project. The case has yet to be brought before a Federal Court. Even if the case does eventually reach the SCOTUS, it is likely much of the wall will be completed at that time.
The conservative position on 5A issues is not black-and-white. Yes, we should lock down the borders and prevent, as much as possible, violent criminals and dangerous drugs from entering the country. Simultaneously, we must not grant the government more power than it is due. The Feds have already encroached on the first four amendments (as we have previously discussed) without a check on their power.
The first and most reasonable step should be to offer to pay those residents living on the border, on a voluntary basis, for the use of their land, or to purchase the land outright. History has not judged the TVA positively, and those mistakes from the past can still be prevented along the southern border by implementing reasonable and conservative strategies.
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