“The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work. Therefore we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive.”
author and economist
With the recent announcement of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s retirement and Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s declining health, the Republican Party is fast approaching the opportunity to reclaim the third rail of runaway stupidity known as the Supreme Court.
If any more proof was needed that conservatives should finally lay claim to all three branches of government, one need only look so far as the recent stupefaction foisted upon the nation by the recent high court ruling in the case of Kelo v. New London.
In that case, the city of New London, Connecticut, had fallen on hard times. The city’s tax base had been decreasing, and city leaders were desperate for economic development (read: taxes). Sensing an opportunity, the city reactivated the New London Development Corporation—a private entity under the control of the city government—to redevelop its Fort Trumbull neighborhood.
The development corporation created a plan that included such things as a resort hotel and conference center, 80-plus new residences, office buildings and retail spaces. The city subsequently approved the development plan and authorized the corporation to purchase land in the neighborhood.
Fort Trumbull was an older neighborhood that included some 115 properties. The development corporation offered to purchase all the land; however, 15 owners didn’t want to sell their homes.
The city then chose to exercise its right of eminent domain. It ordered the development corporation, a private entity, to condemn the 15 properties.
The owners sued the city, arguing that the city had abused its authority. The power of eminent domain, for the uninitiated, is limited by the Fifth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. The Fifth Amendment says, “… nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Kelo and the other plaintiffs argued that private economic development, the stated purpose of the development corporation, did not qualify as public use. (Heretofore, “public use” meant airports, parks, roads and the like.)
The development corporation was a private entity; hence the plaintiffs argued that it was not constitutional for the government to take private property from one individual and give it to another simply because the next private owner may put the property to a use that would generate a higher tax base.
Yet last month the four liberal judges (Justices Stevens, Kennedy, Breyer and Ginsburg) on the court, joined by the dumbest Republican appointee ever (David Souter), agreed with the city of New London in a 5-4 decision.
The court found that if an economic project increases tax and other city revenues it qualifies as a public use. The court also found that government delegation of eminent- domain power to a private entity was also constitutional as long as the private entity served as the legally authorized agent of the government.
So, as I understand this reverse “Robin Hood” concept, the government can now take property from the poor and give it to the rich because the rich will generate more in taxes. This, I suppose, is a necessity because the displaced poor will then need some new government programs to support themselves once being made homeless in favor of the wealthy.
Anyone else see the irony here?