The OC Blog Back Issues Our Mission Contact Us Masthead
Sudsy Wants You to Join the Oregon Commentator

SCOTUS Strikes Again

The Supreme Court issued another terrible decision today, this time striking a blow to the very idea of private property. The 5-4 Kelo v. New London decision stipulates that local governments may take private property away from one party in order to give it to another private party under the assumption that the second party will use it for more public good (read: higher income tax revenues) than the first party.

This ridiculous ruling should be repudiated by people of all political stripes. Despite the fact that the majority was composed of liberal justices, liberals should hardly applaud the decision. As Justice O’Conner concludes in her dissent:

Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms. As for the victims, the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more. The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result. [T]hat alone is a just government, wrote James Madison, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.

In other words, this decision embraces and empowers cronyism and corruption. It’s a win for companies like Pfizer and a loss for individual citizens.

True conservatives should have little reason to appreciate this decision either, as it strikes a terrible blow against private property rights. Your land and property is now utterly subject to the will of government. As usual, Justice Thomas is accurate in dissent:

The Framers embodied that principle in the Constitution, allowing the government to take property not for public necessity, but instead for public use. Amdt. 5. Defying this understanding, the Court replaces the Public Use Clause with a [P]ublic [P]urpose Clause, […] a restriction that is satisfied, the Court instructs, so long as the purpose is legitimate and the means not irrational, ante, at 17 (internal quotation marks omitted). This deferential shift in phraseology enables the Court to hold, against all common sense, that a costly urban-renewal project whose stated purpose is a vague promise of new jobs and increased tax revenue, but which is also suspiciously agreeable to the Pfizer Corporation, is for a public use. […] I do not believe that this Court can eliminate liberties expressly enumerated in the Constitution and therefore join her dissenting opinion.

As usual, Volokh and SCOTUSblog do a good job covering both Kelo and the other five, less outrageous decisions made today. Meanwhile, Julian Sanchez wonders aloud if “now that the ‘liberal’ justices on the court have sided with the drug warriors against cancer patients, and with a plan to rob people of their homes for the benefit of wealthy developers, will some court-watchers on the left begin to question the wisdom of having let economic freedom become the red-headed stepchild of modern jurisprudence?” Let’s hope so.

  1. Let’s put it this way: There are many who are wanting Ginsburg to die. Including many middle Democrats.

    The Lefties, however, like things the way it is…it’s one of the 45 pillars to bringing marxism into this country.

    Time for us to get crackin’ on these yayhoos.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.