Tuesday, July 12, 2005

What Women CAN Control

The name Susette Kelo probably doesn’t mean much to you. I’ll try and jog your memory.

Kelo v. New London.

Still no clue? Well, she was part of a landmark Supreme Court case. Of course it probably won’t get the fame and notoriety that another Supreme Court case has received: Roe v. Wade. I doubt many Supreme Court justice nominations and hearings will be fraught with possible perils of repealing Kelo v. New London. We won’t likely be celebrating/mourning Kelo v. New London in 25 years. The Wall Street Journal won’t likely be publishing their findings on a Kelo effect.

Yet both cases involve rights. And I found it ironic that a woman was part of this case.

You see, Roe v. Wade ruled that a woman has a right to control what happens to her body.

But Kelo v. New London has ruled that a woman (and, for that matter, a man, a church, an institution, etc.) has no right to personal property under eminent domain. Yep, a clause that made it possible for a local government to buy property at fair market value for the public good (roads, schools, government buildings, etc.) has been expanded to include private property that a private developer might want. The public good appears to be whatever the rich want. And I find it interesting that the Democrats and the liberals supported this Supreme Court ruling!

Or will they soon use this to seize property from churches, private schools, and the like? It might be argued that teaching Creation is not in the public good, therefore for the public good a Christian school is seized and it becomes a humanist center for humanist studies.

Eminent domain isn’t new. Baltimore and Oakland used this provision to try and keep National Football League franchises in town. They probably should try again. They have Supreme Court precedent on their side now.

The real travesty is that this nation was built on the concept of personal property rights. It was written into the Constitution that the government could not just seize one’s personal property. But a slippery slope appeared when this protection was breached for what was deemed good reason. If someone was caught will illegal drugs, according to the Zero Tolerance policy that person forfeited the rights to that property, even before having a trial. No one questioned it then—public good, you know. But now someone wants your house or my house, or the land my church sits on.

Now there is Supreme Court precedent for you to lose that property and there is nothing you can do.

Forget the Patriot Act. Forget about possible (and so far unproven) detainee abuses at Guantanimo. What the Supreme Court did in Kelo v. New London was undermine Constitutional rights—and this was done in broad daylight!

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