Friday, June 24, 2005

Your Life In a Nutshell

There has been lots of raging in the blogosphere on the Supreme Court decision in the Kelo case. I am no law prof but have a few thoughts about this case as it is about one of the things I am against the most - the government seizing private property.

Of course on the fringes there is the "lets get the guns" outcry and there is also the "the state will take care of you, all of your property belongs to us" losers. Drudge has a headline that says "Supreme Court Rules Cities May Seize Homes". Certain blogs that lean libertarian have declared the end of the world as we know it. I have learned something very valuable over the last few years - when faced with something you are interested in, you must get many opinions and LOTS of information to form an educated opinion.

After much reading I hapenned upon this blog post via Ann Althouse which sums it up about right for me:
I think the case sends just about the right message. The Court is not prepared to adopt a per se rule against takings for economic development. But the amber light is flashing. Stevens and Kennedy seem to say that careful planning and lots of community input are important in sustaining the use of eminent domain for economic development. Kennedy ... warns that he may come up with a theory in the future which would allow him to go the other way -- so watch out! The Court is closely divided 5-4, which means another, more egregious example of condemn-and-retransfer might get struck down. So the message to state courts is: go ahead and use eminent domain for economic development, but please try to take property rights more seriously in the future. I think this is exactly the right message. it preserves federalism in this area, but tries to re-shape values and attitudes to be less casual about overuse of eminent domain, which can be a wrenching experience for people.
I am no expert in this field but this sounds logical! You have to have some limited eminent domain powers or you will have no new roads, and won't be able to bulldoze crack houses. But let's not sell people's homes for a new stereo store either!

So it took me reading about 30 articles or so before I could find someone using logic and sane reasoning to find an answer to my query - how does this decision affect me? But isn't that your life in a nutshell? Does the decision affect me? It might. There are legitimate concerns over the Kelo case as far as your private property rights go - there is plenty to be mad about here. Just maybe not as much as everyone is saying. Trust me, cases of this type will appear again in the Supreme Court - we can only hope that the future Supremes will protect private property better than the current ones.

The greatest life lesson I have learned in the last few years is to form my opinions on LOTS of information - not just giving you "mega dittos".

Am off to the beautiful northwoods of Wisconsin for a few days - y'all have a good weekend and thanks as always for reading.

2 comments:

Carl from Chicago said...

There was an interesting article in the Tribune today by a guy saying, hey, this is basically how it works in Chicago today anyways. If a politically connected developer wants your land, they use their "connections", and voila, they get what they want. Now the whole country is just like Chicago, the connected get what they want, and if you aren't connected you are just roadkill.

I'll let you guess how you get connected... I'm sure it has nothing to do with political donations or anything like that...

Dan from Madison said...

Good comment - it is the exact same thing as my story on the Overture Center from a week or so ago.