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Saturday, November 4, 2006

"The Anti-Kelo Wave "

Today's WSJ has an editorial that begins:

We'll all find out soon whether next week's elections yield the "Democratic wave" so many political seers have predicted. There isn't much doubt, however, about another kind of electoral wave that has been building across America and is set to crash on Tuesday.

That tsunami is the property-rights backlash, which is the direct result of last year's misguided and deeply unpopular Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. City of New London. A narrow Court majority decided that the Constitution's "takings" clause somehow allowed the government to seize private property not merely for "public use" but also on behalf of other private interests.

And it concludes by getting a little bit nasty:

As is so often the case when it comes to economic freedom, the states absent from this debate are those with liberal legislatures on the East Coast. Politicians in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut (home of Kelo) are so addicted to the tax revenue they get by forcible property transfers to rich developers that they refuse to act on behalf of property rights. This is one more reason for their citizens to keep fleeing these states for more hospitable climes, much as Third World countries that fail to protect property rights watch their human capital flee.

Also absent from this action has been the federal government. The House last year passed legislation that denies federal funds to local governments that use eminent domain for private development. The Senate, per usual, sat on its thumbs. Maybe the sound of the Kelo wave crashing next Tuesday will spur Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter to listen to the voters and act to protect one of the rights on which America was founded.

Here is a link to the article. [Thanks to How Appealing for the pointer]

Rick Duncan

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