Thursday, June 23, 2005

Screwing the Poor, Court Style

The Supreme Court has just ruled that your home can be taken away so some fat cat can have his precious office building. Looks like property rights are limited only to those who have lots of it. The rest of you have no right to own anything whatsoever. Read about it here.

Yup, now the government can take all your toilet paper so Bill Gates can wipe his ass.

You can all go back to your homes now. Provided, of course, that they're still there.


Ben said...

Here's the interesting thing. Those in dissent are....drum roll, please.... O'Connor, Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas.

I don't know much about this case, but that alone makes me want to give the opinion a second look. Right now, I'm just about as pissed as you are. I'm just wondering WHY those people were in the dissent and people like Ginsburg and Stevens were in the majority.

Best I can figure is that people like Scalia are generally in favor of broadly defined property rights and people like Ginsburg are generally in favor of broad deference to legislatures on economic matters. In this case, it happened to work to the detriment of the poor.

Ben said...

Having read a little commentary on the seems the Court still put some procedural limits in place so that the local government cannot entirely operate out of corporations' back pockets.

Whether these limits are more than illusory remains to be seen.

Anonymous said...

Not surprising at all. When you have a government that asserts it has the right to take half of your money, it's not all that much of a logical leap for it to assert it has the right to take your property as well.

People say we have a free market society. In actuality, we live in a communist one.

- miguel

Mike said...

Actually Miguel, I would describe it as more socialist, but you are essentially correct. The U.S. has never truly been a free market society.

I'm always amused by differences in perspective - for example, how Ben and Jeff, two of the most liberal people I know, are agreeing with the most conservative Justices on the Supreme Court in this instance. Or, consider George Will's article on the eminent domain case: what he describes as liberalism, wanton government interference in people's lives, I associate with modern conservatism. But then, I am more of a social libertarian.

I will close with a quote from my old friends at System of a Down, which popped into my head as I read the title of this post: "Why don't presidents fight the war? Why do we always send the poor?"

Jeff said...

Yeah, the irony here is that the conservative justices sided with the liberals (and Libertarians) while the liberal justices sided with the corporate conservatives. More proof that the Supreme Court is all but impossible to judge. (Remember the medical marijuana decision, where Scalia and Thomas actually disagreed on something?)