Thursday, June 23, 2005
The Death of the Right to Property
Today's decision by the US Supreme Court has gutted the 5th Amendment. The QandO Blog has a nice summary.
What part of "No person shall be... deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." is confusing?
No one can argue that this intended to permit your city to expropriate your private dwelling, and then sell it to private developers to build denser private housing.
No one except the Supreme Court, which has now asserted that creation of jobs, and/or increasing property tax revenue by switching private property owners around, is a public use.
Justice Thomas, in dissent: "Today's decision is simply the latest in a string of our cases construing the public use clause to be a virtual nullity, without the slightest nod to its original meaning."
This court is not Liberal. It is exploring the nether regions of fascism; which desires the destruction of free markets entirely as much as does communism. The needle points to fascism here because this decision favors well-to-do developers as wards of the state.
It is now permissible to seize private property on behalf of private businesses if such action is projected to create jobs and/or increase tax revenue. Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the majority, said "Promoting economic development is a traditional and long accepted function of government,"
We could only wish that there was any evidence, at any time, in any place; that any government had actually accomplished this.
If destruction of property rights is "promoting economic development", we must ask what else would promote economic development?
Well, clearly the sites of government buildings, like the State Capitol, would produce more revenue if they were converted into parking structures.
Quartering troops in your home would promote economic development of the Army.
Prevention of terrorist attacks is a function of government. Letting anyone out of Gitmo might retard economic development via forced redevelopment (think World Trade Center).
Why not just eliminate the middle-man? Seize your property, sell it and keep the money. Oh, right, they already do that if you don't pay your taxes.
I guess since the SCOTUS decision that the Commerce Clause governs every conceivable transaction; say picking marijuana in your own garden, or, just as logically - tomatoes, this rejection of the idea of individual rights should be no surprise.
At bottom, the "benefits" do not even have to be realized and are not measured against the costs. It's the intent that counts.
This Court is committed to removing constraint after constraint from the power of government.
Constraint on government is just what the Constitution was written to preserve.
This is amazing and depressing.
Update: 8:10PM, 23-Jun
Apparently the issue of property rights in Canada was never actually an ummm.. . issue.
An amazing tale of government dishonesty and theft in Canada, courtesy of Angry in the Great White North. Also several links on today's Kelo decision.