Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Your Not-So Private Property

For any liberals who support court intervention as a means to pass desired legislation, Kelo v. New London is your wake-up call. This case exemplifies how judicial fiat can operate in direct contradiction of the U. S. Constitution. This quote gives the essence of the case.

It is in New London, Conn., where city officials seek to bulldoze homes for a private development project that will bring more tax revenue into the government's coffers.

Last week's 5-4 Supreme Court decision broadened the eminent domain power – granting local governments sweeping powers to seize private property to generate tax revenue. But the court also acknowledged that states can restrict that power.
The whole question surrounds the concept of “eminent domain” as described in the 5th Amendment to the Constitution, in part, as “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”. Walter E. Williams makes an excellent case about the extremely slippery slope the Supreme Court has presented through their ruling. If a city, county, or state is short on cash and someone offers to open, say, a casino that will generate lots of tax revenue if it can be built on land currently owned by you or me, the government can opt to evict us and compensate us only a fraction of the true value of our property. This means that "our" private property is NOT truly ours – it can be taken from us virtually on a political whim.

James D. Mylenbusch wrote a letter to the Worldnet Daily editor and makes a point I had never considered before.

When did anyone ever think they could own real property? Long ago, property taxes effectively removed that right from the American citizen.

When you actually own something, it is yours and no one has the right to take it from you. But even if your mortgage is paid in full, and you let your taxes go unpaid, your home is subject to confiscation by the state or county or whoever else to whom you may "owe" taxes.
If any readers here should care to read the other letters to the editor (accessible through the link above), you will see several implications of civil war. This brings us back to Walter E. Williams' commentary when he ties this most recent erosion of our civil rights with another hotly-contested issue:

I think the socialist attack on judicial nominees who'd use framer-intent in their interpretation of the Constitution might also explain their attack on our Second Amendment "right of the people to keep and bear Arms." Why? Because when they come to take our property, they don't want to risk buckshot in their butts.
The fight has already begun. Justice David Souter, one of the judges who ruled in favor of capricious confiscation, is already at risk of being evicted from his house in order to make way for the "Lost Liberty Hotel". I really hope this guy loses his house but I’d be surprised if it actually happens. Being a justice of the Supreme Court does grant one a little influence.

On a side note: How enlightening to see how the ability to make decisions without reaping the benefits can turn one into a liberal.

God have mercy on the U.S.A.. I used to think people who raised hell about judicial activism and eroding civil rights were full of crap. Now, I can see it for myself.


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