Thursday, June 23, 2005

Another Bad 5-4 Decision

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court decided that local communities can seize your home for a private development. Link.
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 have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes to generate tax revenue.

Local officials, not federal judges, know best in deciding whether a development project will benefit the community, justices said.

"The city has carefully formulated an economic development that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including -- but by no means limited to -- new jobs and increased tax revenue," Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority.

He was joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

At issue was the scope of the Fifth Amendment, which allows governments to take private property through eminent domain if the land is for "public use." [...]

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has been a key swing vote on many cases before the court, issued a stinging dissent. She argued that cities should not have unlimited authority to uproot families, even if they are provided compensation, simply to accommodate wealthy developers. [...]She was joined in her opinion by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, as well as Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

The majority had an abominable reading of the takings clause of the constitution. We need more justices like Thomas, Scalia and Rehnquist. Unfortunately, Rehnquist is the most likely near-term retirement of the nine. When he does, my choice for Chief Justice is Thomas.


  • I believe this was the final straw for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Unless she has some health problem, the timing is suspect.
    And the NARAL hags couldn't wait even a day without spitting out some venom. http://www.wanaral.org/s07currentprojects/thesupremecourt.shtml
    Couldn't they at least say something about the 1st woman on the Supreme Court? . . . Gregory

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:40 AM  

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