Count me among those disgusted with the Supreme Court’s ruling against Susette Kelo, which
asserted the right of the government to seize her home in order to divert the property to what
it judged to be a use of higher economic value.
The economic value to the current owner can be directly measured by the price that owner
would need to be compensated in order to part with the property. The economic value in the
alternative use can be directly measured by how much the developer is willing and able to pay
for the property. If the developer can’t offer a high enough price to make the owner want to
sell, and can only get it by threatening to throw the property owner in jail, it rather
undermines the claim that the developer’s plans for the property should legitimately be assigned
a higher economic value.
But others have said this better than I can.
All a developer has to do now is make a lowball offer and threaten to involve a
bought-and-paid-for politician to take the property away if the owner doesn’t acquiesce.
Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from
this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with
disproportionate influence and power in the political process.
If there is one idea that will help developing countries escape poverty, it is
the recognition of a distinction between mine and thine – not to mention thine and the
government’s. But in a country that became wealthy through the recognition and protection of
those property rights, the US’s highest court has just upheld a decision that allows local
municipalities to seize an individual’s property.
While Bush, sometimes rightly, gets bashed by the Left for trying to create a
corporate state, it is in fact the left side of the Supreme Court that has struck the strongest
blow now in that direction.
Michelle Malkin has much more.