Friday, July 01, 2005

The Upside to the Supreme Court's Recent Eminent Domain Ruling

There has been much gnashing of teeth regarding the high court's Kelo decision. The prognostications have been of gloom and doom. I, for one, have become recently emboldened. I decided to actually READ the court's majority opinion. It seems that reports of the demise of property rights may have been greatly exaggerated. The following quote comes directly from that opinion (page 19).

We emphasize that nothing in our opinion precludes any State from placing further restrictions on its exercise of the takings power. Indeed, many States already impose “public use” requirements that are stricter than the federal baseline. Some of these requirements have been established as a matter of state constitutional law,22 while others are expressed in state eminent domain statutes that carefully limit the grounds upon which takings may be exercised.23 As the submissions of the parties and their amici make clear, the necessity and wisdom of using eminent domain to promote economic development are certainly matters of legitimate public debate.24 This Court’s authority, however, extends only to determining whether the City’s proposed condemnations are for a “public use” within the meaning of the Fifth Amendment to the Federal Constitution.

Now I'm no constitutional attorney, but that sounds a hell of a lot like we can change state law to make sure we have the property rights we always thought we had. While in some states that may be dificult, here in Florida voters recently changed the state constitution to protect pigs. The threshold for changing our constitution here is not very high. A petition drive to get the proposal on the ballot and a majority vote, that's it. I'll be the first one to sign up for increased property rights.

As for the pigs, when the law passed by voters the few pig farmers in the state slaughtered their pigs and got out of the business rather than implement the onerous new standards, but that's another story.


Juan Paxety said...

Just be sure the new amendment is worded so that a "Yes" vote gets the desired result.
I'm convinced these idiots in Florida will vote "Yes" for anything. Bullet train - "Yes" - stop the bullet train "Yes".

Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

Well the thing with the bullet train and the class size amendment was that the amendments didn't have to specify what they would cost the taxpayer. When they put the bullet train issue back on the table with a price tag, the answer was to get rid to trash the idea.

It's like I tell everyone that complains about their health insurance and what it doesn't cover. The more things you want the more you're going to have to pay. Insurance companies (like all properly run businesses) don't like to be in the habit of paying out more than they take in. Sure I want my child in a class of 15 students, but I don't want my property taxes or sales taxes to double.