In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Kelo v. City of New London, in which the Court held that a state government could constitutionally take private land via “eminent domain” and transfer that land to a private company for development purposes to increase tax revenue.
The Winchester Star recognized my pre-Kelo decision property protection efforts: “… to his credit, Delegate Robert G. Marshall … saw what was coming – even when few others in the General Assembly did … Mr. Marshall introduced legislation to prevent precisely what the Supreme Court has allowed in New London, Connecticut … His bill failed, primarily because other lawmakers did not boast similar powers of prescience … We only wish that Bob Marshall’s colleagues had listened to him way back when.” (Winchester Star Editorial, 5-25-05)
The Kelo decision reflects the Court’s opinion that “public purpose” is the same as “public use,” a reading of the Constitution which I reject because it allows public taking of private property to be transferred to other private parties for other private purposes, under a broad reading of the public purpose doctrine which I also reject.
In my capacity as Delegate, I have fought to help many residents receive fair market value for any state “taking” of their property under eminent domain.
The federal government shutdown of 2013 demonstrated the incompetence and arrogance of leaders in Washington, when they shut down national parks and open air monuments in Virginia! The sites were barricaded and guarded, sometimes at greater expense than the usual cost of keeping these facilities open.
The vindictiveness and blatant disregard for the livelihoods of the millions of Americans who depend upon those parks remaining open, must not be repeated.
Virginia, back in the 1920‘s, condemned tens of thousands of acres along a 105 mile path from Front Royal to Waynesboro belonging to private citizens to establish the Shenandoah National Park. I introduced HB 16 (2014) establishing a Commission to study the re-conveyance of the Shenandoah National Park back to Virginia, to ensure that “our” park does not shut down in the future.
Because I believe that the fruits of the earth are gifts for ourselves, our children, grandchildren and others after them and that we must remain good stewards and protect our natural resources, in 2007, I received the “Legislative Hero Award” for my 100% voting record from the League of Conservation Voters. Here is what I said when I received my Legislative Hero Award in 2007: “Conserving our natural resources preserves the land and its riches for ourselves and our posterity; reminds us of our roots: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15); and, wasting our natural resources amounts to stealing from our neighbors and our children, and that is wrong.”
“A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.”
– Thomas Jefferson