Supremes: some property rights more equal than others
Yesterday's Supreme Court ruling on eminent domain, Kelo v. City of New London, is bound to make more political ripples than practically anything Rehnquist's crew has done since handing the 2000 election to George W. Bush. As you probably already read, the Supes declared that local governments may seize small properties--homes, businesses--for development by larger private interests. Over at No Force, No Fraud, Bob Smith quotes this passage from Sandra Day O'Connor's dissenting opinion:
Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms.
So there you go. Cronyism and mercenary opportunism are further enshrined in law. And please note that it was the putative liberals who lined up on the side of corporations and big developers: Stevens, Souter, Kennedy, Breyer and Ginsburg. The last two were Clinton appointees and have been steadfast champions of the prerogatives of what used to be called "the money power." This episode only proves again that traditional labels aren't much use anymore: In the instance of the contemporary Supreme Court you have a so-called liberal wing that is all about extending the rights of capital, and a so-called conservative wing that is all about extending the rights of the state in policing, surveilling, and dictating the morality of the populace.
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