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Thursday, June 23, 2005 


I just got finished reading this. It was quite a feat too, cause it's hard to read anything while constantly shaking your head "no." Eminent domain is a very interesting issue. I like it so much that I named my blog after it. I have no idea how 5 Justices thought that this was a good decision. How did we get from "Hey folks, I need to build a freeway here, here's some money for your property" to "this guy wants land for his shopping center, get out"?

Here's the Takings Clause of the 5th Amendment "...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." Public use, not the government jacks your land for someone else. Justice Thomas points this out in his dissent. He mentions that "public use" is not the same as "general welfare," which is used elsewhere in the Constitution. The majority is substituting general welfare for public use here. Just because some local board finds a net benefit to a different use of property does not make it "public use."

This whole concept is pretty authoritarian. Private property rights seem to be meaningless. I would be negligent to not point out the vote. The conservatives on the Court voted against this. The liberals (and Kennedy gets to join this crew) voted for it. This is not a business issue, even though some people are framing it as such. This is a governmental power issue. And the liberals on the Court have decided that the government has the right to take your home and give it to a developer. This shows why the Court is so important. They make important decisions that affect the entire country. Here, they fucked up. Big. A strict constructionist would never read "public good" and decide it means "whatever the hell I want." The majority should catch hell for this decision, because it is horrible.

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