Washington Libertarian Review

Political commentary from the State of Washington with a libertarian perspective.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

U.S. Supreme Court smothers liberty

Well, some had speculated in the wake of the gay rights decision a few years ago (Lawrence v Texas) that the Supreme Court had developed "libertarian" sympathies. Some even worried that elevating Justice Thomas to Chief Justice on Rehnquist's retirement would exascerbate the drift toward liberty.

By now, as reported by the New York Times, it should be quite clear that it was all but a dream. The court decided today that private property can be taken by the government for private economic development purposes regardless whether the property, or the owner, is causing any harm within the community. According to Justice John Paul Stevens, "Promoting economic development is a traditional and long accepted governmental function, and there is no principled way of distinguishing it from the other public purposes the court has recognized." So now, as Justice O'Conner put it, "Nothing is to prevent the state from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory."

As with the historic misuse of the Commerce Clause, the U.S. Supreme Court has demonstrated, once again, that "the fix is in" and there are no sacred state's or individual's rights any more.


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