Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Kelo on Kelo

Susette Kelo:
"Today, I am scheduled to testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on eminent domain abuse. I sincerely hope Congress will do what judges and local legislators so far have failed to do for me and for thousands of others across the nation: protect our homes under a plain reading of the U.S. Constitution, which says government may only take private property for a 'public use.' "
It just doesn't seem like that language is difficult to understand, eh?

This is how Susette see the case:

Why did the City and the New London Development Corp. (NLDC) want to kick us out? To make way for up-scale condos and other private developments that could bring in more taxes to the city and possibly more jobs. The poor and middle class had to make way for the rich and politically connected.

If the government was taking our property for a road or firehouse, I would be prepared to sell without a fight. But the government should not be able to force me to sell my home so someone else can enjoy my view. NLDC wants my land to market to a developer for projects to "complement" our area's new Pfizer facility. This is for private profit, not public use.

Her view seems about right to me.

Like my neighbors up the street, I worked hard (in my case, at up to three jobs at a time) to pay for my home. And we should not be forced out by our own government simply because someone else who carries more political clout wants the land for a nonpublic use. Isn't that what the courts, Congress and the Constitution are supposed to protect us from?

As I sat there in the U.S. Supreme Court back in February and listened to the justices hear my case, I was so disappointed their very first question and first concern was for the power of government rather than the rights of citizens.
WOW! It seem to me, that if the Judicial branch of government doesn't think it's first priority is to protect individuals from government, then we might just as well not have a Judicial branch of government. The logic of getting elected means that neither the Legislative branch, nor the Executive branch, will see incentives to protect individuals from government.

Sadly, she might be right about the following as well:
In many ways, my neighbors and I are the victims of legislators, lawyers and judges who believe it is somehow a sign of intelligence to make language that clearly means one thing mean something exactly the opposite: "Public use" now means private use; judges don't judge but instead let legislators decide whether they're violating the Constitution. There is nothing intelligent about misusing language in this way to take away people's homes and their rights.
On the other hand, perhaps it is even worse than this. Could it be that far too many learned people no longer truly value the liberty of the individual, and value instead finding ways to grab hold of the coercive power of government. I don't know, could be I'm still just in a bad mood.

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