Property-rights advocates condemned the Supreme Court’s split decision today allowing a local government to seize a home or business against the owner’s will for the purpose of private development.
“It’s a dark day for American homeowners,” said Dana Berliner, senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, which represented a group of Connecticut residents in the case.
“While most constitutional decisions affect a small number of people, this decision undermines the rights of every American, except the most politically connected,” Berliner said. “Every home, small business or church would produce more taxes as a shopping center or office building. And according to the court, that’s a good enough reason for eminent domain.”
I’m not surprised by this at all, but I am disappointed. This effectively ends all pretense of American property rights, since state and local governments now have the ability to hand over a desired property to anyone with the requisite political influence. This is a recipe for disastrous corruption, of course, as the redefinition of “public use” in the same manner as “interstate commerce” not only renders the language meaningless, but the law as well.
I have said it before, but I will say it again: there is no longer any law in America. W. Somerset Maugham had it right when he said “do what thou wilt, with due regard for the policeman around the corner”.