Taking the Measures of Freedom to Legislatures

June 1, 2011

In March, IJ client and journalist Carla Main, above, testified before the Texas House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee in support of the Citizen Participation Act, a bill that would curb frivolous defamation lawsuits, also known as “strategic lawsuit against public participation,” or SLAPP suits. Main discussed how she was sued for defamation by Dallas developer H. Walker Royall over her book, “Bulldozed: Kelo, Eminent Domain, and the American Lust for Land,” which chronicles eminent domain abuse in Freeport, Texas. Royall was the lead developer on the project. Some form of anti-SLAPP legislation has been adopted by 27 states. The Institute is defending Main and her publisher in court.

Dana Berliner, above, and IJ client Lori Ann Vendetti (not pictured) testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Constitution in favor of the Private Property Rights Protection Act, which would withdraw federal funding from state and local governments that use eminent domain for economic development. The bill, sponsored by Reps. Sensenbrenner (R) and Waters (D) passed the House by 386-43 in 2005 but stalled in the Senate. Congress is gearing up for another attempt to pass the bill in 2011.

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