August 3, 2005

An Unnatural Alliance

Briefly undermining my pessimistic view of American politics, conservatives and liberals alike are working together to counteract the implications of the recent Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. New London, which declared that government use of eminent domain in order to further economic development was within the bounds of the CT and US Constitutions. Click on the link for a good overview of the case. This instance marks one of the few times where I happen to agree with the conservative bloc. I strongly believe this decision was founded on a dubious legal basis and sets a dangerous precedent for what former Justice O'Conner predicted in her dissenting opinion, taking from the poor to give to the rich.

In a rare moment of bipartisan cooperation, Republicans and Democrats in states such as Alabama, Delaware, Texas, and California have pushed forth initiatives to hamstring this ruling. Republicans are up in arms about typical conservative fears of big government. "We don't like anybody messing with our dogs, our guns, our hunting rights or trying to take property from us," waxed state Sen. Jack Biddle of Alabama. Contrastingly, Democrats have supported such measures as well, echoing the fears of former Justice O'Conner that city governments will bulldoze ghettoes to erect mini-malls. Legislatures in at least ten states have proposed laws limiting eminent domain and more are expected to follow when they return to session. To try and redeem Texas a bit for George, I'll leave you with this:

In Washington, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said his office received more calls from constituents angry about this case than it did for the Supreme Court ruling that limited displays of the Ten Commandments on public property. Cornyn is proposing a bill to bar cities and counties from using federal funds for economic development projects that involve seized property.


  1. I wonder when the illuminati enter the picture.

  2. Anonymous6:33 PM

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  3. Nikhil4:11 AM

    Unless you accept Clarence Thomas' argument that the court should not conflate "public use" in the 5th Amendment with "public purposes," I don't believe the decision can be seen to be particularly dubious.

    As long as the land is being used to achieve legitimate public goals, the details should be irrelevant: consider a state that takes land for a prison but hands it over to an external contractor. A private entity benefits, but tangentially -- their benefit is not the focus of the project and legitimate public goals are still achieved.

  4. The alliance is rare, but it can happen with the proper groundswell. Now if everyone can just focus on H.R. 25 and S. 25, the FairTax, this country could have an economic boom that would make the eighties and nineties look insignificant.