The biggest story of the day has got to the the 5-4 ruling by the Supreme Court in Kelo v. City of New London that basically says there are no limits to eminent domain.
The Supreme Court today effectively expanded the right of local governments to seize private property under eminent domain, ruling that people's homes and businesses -- even those not considered blighted -- can be taken against their will for private development if the seizure serves a broadly defined "public use."
In a 5-4 decision, the court upheld the ability of New London, Conn., to seize people's homes to make way for an office, residential and retail complex supporting a new $300 million research facility of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company. The city had argued that the project served a public use within the meaning of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution because it would increase tax revenues, create jobs and improve the local economy.
There is no more private property in America. Whatever you own can now be taken and given to someone else for them to profit off of at the whim of the government. If you don't like it you'll have to sue to keep your stuff, and even if you fight it all the way to the Supreme Court, apparently they'll spit in your face.
A group of homeowners in New London's Fort Trumbull area had fought the city's attempt to impose eminent domain, arguing that their property could be seized only to serve a clear public use such as building roads or schools or to eliminate blight. The homeowners, some of whom had lived in their house for decades, also argued that the public would benefit from the proposed project only if it turned out to be successful, making the "public use" requirement subject to the eventual performance of the private business venture.
This isn't even for the "public" good -- which would be bad enough -- it's for the good of Pfizer and Pfizer's shareholders. They're the ones who will be making a profit off the theft of these homes. If they want the land so bad, they should just buy it. That's how a free market works.
I think it's time for some impeachments. If not the five who joined this majority decision -- Justices John Paul Stevens, Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer -- then let's just throw the whole bunch of them out and start over. It's time for limited terms for federal justices.
I know some leftists wouldn't be happy to have President Bush appoint nine new justices, but how about if we start them on eighteen-year terms staggered every two years? So Bush would get to appoint all nine now, but by the time the next president comes around in 2008 he'll get to appoint two of his own, and so will the next president, and so on forever. Eh, there's flaws I'm sure, but it would be better than the system we've got now.
Another possible solution is proposed by Abu Gingy who wants to develop over some Justices' homes.
If there are any well connected real estate developers in the DC area reading this, please drop me a line. If we can come up with some project that would kick these schmucks out of their own homes, I doubt the irony would be lost on the learned justices.
Michelle Malkin links to Brash Limburg who points out that property rights are more important than library records.
While You Were Busy Protesting The Patriot Act... ...the government took your house. I'm sure the residents of New London, Connecticut will be happy to know that while their houses are being demolished, their library records will be safely locked away.
I wish the left would use its protest energy for something useful like this... or am I mistaken in thinking that leftist Americans would be opposed to the elimination of private property?
Eugene Volokh has a more balanced look at Kelo v. City of New London and examines the effects of the ruling, setting aside (apparently) any moral objections to government takings.
But I think Clayton Cramer's analogy is better, because I don't think the moral aspects can be ignored.
If you aren't a property owner, consider this analogy: you believe that you labor is worth $10 per hour. You aren't prepared to work for less. A corporation decides that your labor is essential to what they are doing, but they aren't prepared to pay you $10 per hour--so they have the government draft you, and pay you a private's wages--and assign you to work for that corporation, arguing that the corporation's products would enhance the overall economy. You would properly recognize that you had been enslaved.