Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Kelo Decision 

Today the Supreme Court decided in a 5-4 split that the City of New London, CT could condemn private property that was not blighted in order to sell the same to a private developer that plans to create a commercial center on it, resulting in higher tax revenues for the City. Kelo v. New London.

There are well reasoned comments about the case here, here and here, among many other sites. The comments come down in favor of both sides of the decision. It will generate dozens, if not hundreds, of law review articles and law school exam questions.

Although I am a lawyer, I do not consider myself a constitutional scholar. But speaking as an informed citizen, I have an uneasy feeling about where this case might lead. The Supreme Court is the only institution in the government that has a mandate to moderate excesses by the other branches. When it fails to do so (and in my view it has so failed in this case), I grow concerned that the Constitution, if it continues to be interpreted as it has been by the current Court, won't be worth the paper it's written on.

UPDATE: Scott Johnson at PowerLine Blog has an interesting post about the political importance of property rights as understood by the Founding Fathers.

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