Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Last Straw?


This decision, in Kelo v. City of New London, coming on top of the decision in Raich, drives me to the edge of despair:
Supreme Court Rules Cities May Seize Homes

WASHINGTON - A divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses against their will for private development in a decision anxiously awaited in communities where economic growth often is at war with individual property rights.

The 5-4 ruling — assailed by dissenting Justice Sandra Day O'Connor as handing "disproportionate influence and power" to the well-heeled in America — was a defeat for Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They had 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 now have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes in order to generate tax revenue.

The state is in the saddle and its steed is trampling liberty with abandon.

UPDATE: Some would blame today's market drop on the price of crude:
Stocks slump after oil taps $60
Dow posts biggest one-day drop in more than 2 months
But a look at the intraday chart suggests that the selloff began just after the news of the Court's decision in Kelo. It's bad for people and bad for business (which also makes it bad for people).

State and local governments now have the power to shut down any business on any pretext that can be labelled a "public purpose." The regulatory hazards of doing business have just been magnified and the trajectory of economic growth has been pushed downward, again, in yet another blow to liberty. It began, in earnest, about 100 years ago. And there's no letup in sight.