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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Thoughts about the Kelo v. New London case...

The Kelo decision hit us like a meteor, and once again Connecticut finds itself on Page One. If you don't know, this decision of the U. S. Supreme Court allows governments to take private property for public purposes, not merely for public uses, as spelled out in the 5th Amendment to the Constitution. The City of New London condemned the homes of the plaintiff Susette Kelo and some of her neighbors (one of whom had lived in her home since 1918) for the purpose of private development such as offices and a marina which would, of course, beef up the tax rolls. It would also make a few bucks for the developer, most likely.

Justice Sandra O'Connor, no right-wing ideologue, said in her dissent that, "Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms. As for the victims, the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more. The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result. '[T]hat alone is a just government,” wrote James Madison, “which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.'” Eloquent.

Now everyone is in a scramble to prevent these takings, and we wish them success. In Connecticut, where the offense occurred, Republican senators are proposing to limit takings of residential properties . One man, with the suspiciously satirical-sounding name of Logan Darrow Clements, is taking a more pointed approach, writing to the Town of Weare, New Hampshire and offering to develop the property of Supreme Court Justice Souter.

It's only fair, after all.


Anonymous said...

Congress needs to step up against this unconstitutional decision and put pressure on these 5 black robes.


Anonymous said...

Agreed. And in the meantime let's get some local protection as well.