[JURIST] President Bush [official website] issued an executive order [text] Friday directing that US federal agencies and government departments may not seize private property unless the taking is for public use "and not merely for the purpose of advancing the economic interest of private parties." Bush's order instructs the US attorney general to ensure that all federal entities limit the use of the government's eminent domain [JURIST news archive] power to the taking of private property for projects such as government offices, parks, hospitals, and roads.
The executive order was issued on the one-year anniversary of the 2005 US Supreme Court [official website] decision of Kelo v. New London [text] that permitted a Connecticut municipality to seize private property for private redevelopment [JURIST report] when the taking would economically benefit the community. Also on Friday, Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell [official profile] announced that an agreement had been reached [JURIST report] between New London and two remaining homeowners who had refused to leave their land. Since the Kelo decision, 31 states have passed laws limiting the use of eminent domain by state and local governments. In addition, Senator John Cornyn [official profile] of Texas has introduced federal legislation that would cut federal funding for any state or local projects where the land was seized through eminent domain. AP has more.