Yesterday marked the third anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. New London. The Kelo decision granted the power of eminent domain to any private company that could prove an ability to provide any semblance of public use, at some point in its existence. This decision further distorted the questionable ability of the government to annex private property by powers granted in the 5th Amendment, which asserts “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
In the Kelo decision, the court granted private firms, corporations and other entities the right to forcibly take property from its current legal owners, with the minor–and easily satisfied–stipulation that the private group or individual prove it in some manner (no matter how irrelevant) is connected to a government agency (any one, take your pick), and will at some point provide an appearance of benefit (of any breed) to society (any sector).
Lending any organization the right to seize property from individuals is inherently wrong in and of itself, as the right to life and the right to
property are by definition contingent upon one another. Without the right to property, an individual has no rightful claim to anything he works to create or produce, and without this can have no claim on his own life.
That is, everything from a house you buy to the money you earned working to buy it can arbitrarily be taken from you absent a right to property. A claim to eminent domain ignores this fact, and in essence, creates a false distinction between ownership of land and ownership of any other good, such as food.
The decision put forth by the Supreme Court in Kelo is an even grosser denial of an individual’s right to property than the claim of eminent domain had previously entailed. Via this decision, the Court effectively allowed an already exorbitantly lenient precedent regarding eminent domain to cascade further out of control.
Such a decision by a body that is trusted with the duty to protect the rights and lives of its citizens is simply reprehensible.
Adding insult to injury, SCOTUS rejected a challenge to the Kelo decision, refusing to revisit the issue in its latest session.