Thursday, June 23, 2005

Private Property, RIP

Justice Kennedy has completed his conversion: he is now Reagan's equivalent of David Souter. Kennedy was the swing vote in a key Fifth Amendment property rights case that the Supreme Court has completely botched (Stevens, Souter, Breyer, Ginsburg for; O'Connor, Scalia, Thomas, Rehnquist against). Here is the essence of the decision, from the AP article linked in the title of this post:
The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses _ even against their will _ for private economic development.

* * *
The 5-4 ruling represented a defeat for some Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas.

As a result, cities now have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes in order to generate tax revenue.

I'll include more analysis and commentary later (either tonight or over the weekend). For now, this will suffice: there is no real meaning to the term "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation" because all uses are potentially "public".

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