It's official. None of us live in a Liberal republic anymore. Welcome to the Socialist Republic of the United States of America ruled by politburo members Stevens, Kennedy, Ginsberg, Souter and Breyer. Official Motto: "Waterfront property for party members only."
Today the Court decided the government can take away anything you own, even if all they want to do with it is give it to another (wealthier) individual. Oh, you have to first give it window dressing and claim it will "produce a public benefit", but in the end it winds up the same.
"You're a poor person who happens to live in a home that yuppies want? Well you are shit out of luck my friend, because the yuppies have a CONSTITUTIONALLY ENSHRINED RIGHT to take your home away from you (with the help of the government, of course.) Why? Well, bucket of scum poor people like you don't pay as much in taxes as yuppies do. Go and die under an overpass somewhere."
Makes you proud to be an American, don't it?
In his opinion Justice Stevens goes out of his way to prove beyond a doubt his is the worst kind of jurisprudence imaginable. Get this:
Two polar propositions are perfectly clear. On the one hand, it has long been accepted that the sovereign may not take the property of A for the sole purpose of transferring it to another private party B, even though A is paid just compensation. On the other hand, it is equally clear that a State may transfer property from one private party to another if future "use by the public" is the purpose of the taking; the condemnation of land for a railroad with common-carrier duties is a familiar example. Neither of these propositions, however, determines the disposition of this case.
As for the first proposition, the City would no doubt be forbidden from taking petitioners' land for the purpose of conferring a private benefit on a particular private party. See Midkiff, 467 U.S., at 245 ("A purely private taking could not withstand the scrutiny of the public use requirement; it would serve no legitimate purpose of government and would thus be void"); Missouri Pacific R. Co. v. Nebraska, 164 U.S. 403 (1896). Nor would the City be allowed to take property under the mere pretext of a public purpose, when its actual purpose was to bestow a private benefit. The takings before us, however, would be executed pursuant to a "carefully considered" development plan. 268 Conn., at 54, 843 A. 2d, at 536. The trial judge and all the members of the Supreme Court of Connecticut agreed that there was no evidence of an illegitimate purpose in this case. Therefore, as was true of the statute challenged in Midkiff, 467 U.S., at 245, the City's development plan was not adopted "to benefit a particular class of identifiable individuals."
Really? Really? REALLY? That's funny, because I can quite easily identify a particular "class of individuals" that benefit from this taking. They are ALL WEALTHIER THAN THE POOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE JUST HAD THEIR HOMES TAKEN AWAY FROM THEM. It is amazing that Stevens can't identify rich people as an identifiable class. Most Americans don't have that difficulty. Justice Steven's riposte (if such it can be called) that this is a "carfeully considered development plan" and so must be bowed before, has to be just about the dumbest legal "principle" ever proclaimed by the Court. Now our courts have to decide what is and what isn't a "carefully considered" plan? What complete and utter bullshit. It will never happen. The courts will simply defer to the State whenever they say "We did a study that said X." I know it, you know it, and Justice Steven's and his cronies know it.
This decision represents a complete repudiation of the political philosophy that underlied the founding of this nation. Nobody who lived in the first 175 years of our country's existence would recognize a single thing about the political philosophy motivating Stevens and Company. You know the whole "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" thing? Well, Justice Stevens today has said, "F*ck that shit" and a whole lot of our fellow countrymen will applaud him for it...at least the wealthier ones.
The rest of us realize a right we used to enjoy against the rich and powerful has just been taken away by a pen stroke.
Justice Thomas dissented:
Long ago, William Blackstone wrote that "the law of the land postpone[s] even public necessity to the sacred and inviolable rights of private property." 1 Commentaries on the Laws of England 134-135 (1765) (hereinafter Blackstone). The Framers embodied that principle in the Constitution, allowing the government to take property not for "public necessity," but instead for "public use." Amdt. 5. Defying this understanding, the Court replaces the Public Use Clause with a " '[P]ublic [P]urpose' " Clause, ante, at 9-10 (or perhaps the "Diverse and Always Evolving Needs of Society" Clause, ante, at 8 (capitalization added)), a restriction that is satisfied, the Court instructs, so long as the purpose is "legitimate" and the means "not irrational," ante, at 17 (internal quotation marks omitted). This deferential shift in phraseology enables the Court to hold, against all common sense, that a costly urban-renewal project whose stated purpose is a vague promise of new jobs and increased tax revenue, but which is also suspiciously agreeable to the Pfizer Corporation, is for a "public use." [Emphasis Added]
I cannot agree. If such "economic development" takings are for a "public use," any taking is, and the Court has erased the Public Use Clause from our Constitution, as Justice O'Connor powerfully argues in dissent.
So, the State can do whatever it wants to your property as long as it isn't irrational. (Real comforting, eh?) I must have missed that part of the Constitution.
Justice O'Conner dissented:
Over two centuries ago, just after the Bill of Rights was ratified, Justice Chase wrote:
"An act of the Legislature (for I cannot call it a law) contrary to the great first principles of the social compact, cannot be considered a rightful exercise of legislative authority . A few instances will suffice to explain what I mean . [A] law that takes property from A. and gives it to B: It is against all reason and justice, for a people to entrust a Legislature with such powers; and, therefore, it cannot be presumed that they have done it." Calder v. Bull, 3 Dall. 386, 388 (1798) (emphasis deleted).
Today the Court abandons this long-held, basic limitation on government power. Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded-i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public-in the process. To reason, as the Court does, that the incidental public benefits resulting from the subsequent ordinary use of private property render economic development takings "for public use" is to wash out any distinction between private and public use of property-and thereby effectively to delete the words "for public use" from the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
I don't care how much of a Democrat you are, if you care about Liberalism at all you should be advocating more "conservative" (and therefor more Liberal) justices. If not, you should come forward and admit to being the socialist you without a doubt are.