The Death of America

Here lies America
Born July 4, 1776
Died June 23, 2005
Murdered as she slept
By five black-robed assailants.

Too strong? Perhaps. It may be that the country will survive, although the American Dream apparently will not. If you are a property owner, you went to bed on Wednesday night secure in your Fifth Amendment property rights, keeping the government from taking your property by eminent domain, except in cases where it is necessary for the "public good," and with appropriate compensation.

Yesterday, our black-robed masters at the Supreme Court ruled by a vote of 5-4 that we no longer have those Fifth Amendment rights, and that local governments can now take your property for solely commercial development, arguing that "increasing the property tax rolls" falls under the rubric of "public good." It is as if the Supreme Court all got together to deliberate over a big bowl of stewed prunes, then five of them went and took a great big healthy dump (often a major accomplishment for our nation's senior citizens) and then wiped their asses with the Constitution.

How ironic is it that President Bush and the Executive Branch have been extolling the virtues of an "ownership society," and now the Supreme Court (Judicial Branch) is actively working against private property ownership? Our Founding Fathers must be spinning in their graves. Indeed, if we could harness the energy from that spinning, we could probably be energy independent for the next couple of decades.

What does it all mean? Well, if you own a single-family home in a nice location, say by the beach in Connecticut, and some big developer greases the palms of the local government (city council, county commissioners, whatever), then if you refuse to sell, they can take your property and give you what THEY think is fair market value. You might get half a million, while the developer then takes your property and makes twenty or thirty million by building luxury condos on the site. You lose your home and have to move somewhere else, and that half a million you get probably won't replace it. That was probably the worst thing about this Connecticut case. And as Justice Sandra Day O'Connor noted in her blistering dissent, no property owner in America is safe any more. We are all vulnerable to being forced out by the highest bidder. This could set off the largest land grab since the Oklahoma Land Rush, only this time it would be the government doing the grabbing.

This case shows the need for either term limits or a mandatory retirement age for our unelected, unaccountable Supreme Court justices. Only Clarence Thomas is under age 65, and most of them are physically infirm; it would not be surprising to learn that there were some mental infirmities as well, due to advancing age. I would think it would take a severe case of senility for such an horrific interpretation of the Fifth Amendment. This is probably one of the worst Supreme Court rulings in my lifetime.