What happened to individual property rights? Did somebody forget to tell me that this nation never allowed for private property protection? According to the supreme court, that’s the way it is.
I’ve got a few issues with this deal.
First off, the job of the supreme court is to interpret the law, not to write it. That’s the job of the fuckheads across the street in the capitol building. I’ve got my own issues with those career fatcats who like to vote their own raises and fiddle while the country burns. Here is the actual text of the 5th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Pay particular attention to the last part, “…nor be deprived of…property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” To me, reading it literally, it says that if the government wants to seize land, they first have to go through a due process of holding a hearing on the proposal and provide a fair market compensation for the property. The government must also reserve the land for public use.
Now, what exactly constitutes public use? According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law (1996 ed), public use is defined as “use by or to the benefit of the public; broadly : use that serves a legitimate or conceivable public purpose…NOTE: If a taking of property is not for public use then the consent of the owner is required.” According to this interpretation, public use would be something like a public school or park or recreation center…not a fucking Wal-Mart! However, the supreme court, in a split decision, took it upon itself to redefine public use to include any private development that may generate increased tax revenue for the local government or provide jobs for the local citizens.
Now, I’m all for providing jobs, but I don’t agree that a private company may come in and coerce the local government to seize private property for that purpose. The free market economy will determine what jobs are needed and where they will be. A developer can come in and build, no problem, just not on land that I own (unless I’m getting hella compensation), and by just compensation, I don’t want condemned property value–I want potential capital value. I want the land to be sold for what it is potentially worth. This is how you avoid getting screwed. Thanks a lot, supreme court, you have succeeded in screwing us all.
But wasn’t it a split decision? 5-4 in favour. I have to give props to Justices O’Connor, Scalia, Thomas, and Chief Justice Rhenquist. These four justices had the balls to tell it like it is and defend American liberty. Figures, though, that a bunch of Clinton appointees would vote in favour of a socialist opinion. Yes, it’s socialist–it’s redistribution of wealth, and I’m sick and tired of it. Eminent domain for private development, socialist security, earned income tax credit–I’m sick of it all!
In other news, Ecuador looks like a gorgeous place to live.