Saturday, June 25, 2005

A JUST RESPONSE TO THE KELO DECISION

UPDATE: I was checking out other blogs, and noticed that Villainous Company also quoted the same sections of Thomas's dissent that I did. Just in case I read it there first (and forgot), I want to give her credit, and a trackback.


The Kelo decision on eminent domain being used for private purposes is truly the most awful decision I've seen in a long time. The good thing is that it puts the liberal Supremes on record; likewise, the conservatives came down squarely on the side of the people.

I think the most valuable aspect of the decision is that it underlines the necessity of confirming conservative judges - after all, Clinton was only responsible for Ginsberg and Breyer. Republicans have to take credit (?) for all the other judges. Bush can't afford to select a "compromise" candidate - the impact is too far-reaching.

It was nice to see that Thomas, in particular, used straightforward reasoning in his decision. He pinpointed the essential issues, and based his decision on the historical precedent. I particularly liked:
Something has gone seriously awry with this Court’s interpretation of the Constitution. Though citizens are safe from the government in their homes, the homes themselves are not.


The consequences of today’s decision are not difficult to predict, and promise to be harmful. So-called “urban renewal” programs provide some compensation for the properties they take, but no compensation is possible for the subjective value of these lands to the individuals displaced and the indignity inflicted by uprooting them from their homes. Allowing the government to take property
solely for public purposes is bad enough, but extending
the concept of public purpose to encompass any economically
beneficial goal guarantees that these losses will fall disproportionately on poor communities. Those communities
are not only systematically less likely to put their lands to the highest and best social use, but are also the least politically powerful.

Thomas further explains that, historically, those affected by eminent domain abuse have been, disportionately, black.

Yippee-Ki-Yay! suggests a constitutional amendment to remedy the situation. It's a hoot! Check it out.

1 comment:

Jehane said...

Thanks for the link :) I'm a huge admirer of Justice Thomas - I've been watching him for years and have been thrilled to see him really step into the limelight this year.