Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Courts Destroy Citizen Rights, Part 2,000,000

It has always been my understanding that the courts' major job is to ensure justice and uphold the law of the land. Pity that so many of them seem to have signed on to the statists' big government mantra. Starting with the empowerment of government over citizens in the Progressive era at the beginning of the 20th century, the courts have steadily ceased to perform their role as limiters of government's constant power grabs.

The latest example of courts riding roughshod over citizens' rights occurred in Brooklyn, New York. The New York Supreme Court ruled that the government could use eminent domain to force homeowners and businesses to give up their property so that a multi-millionaire developer could build a new sports arena among other things.

The main problem, as I see it, is that the Founders supposed that the government would not attempt to engage in mass redistribution of wealth at the expense of their subjects - er, I mean citizens. Therefore, they wrote in the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution (which statement is echoed in the New York Constitution),
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Note that nowhere do they specifically say that property may not be taken for public use. Nor is there any mention that property may not be taken for private use. Thus the government is not breaking the letter of the law, though they have long since broken the spirit into a million little pieces (see Kelo).

The answer, I regret to say, is a Constitutional amendment stating that no private property can be seized for any reason save those specifically stated, and that under no circumstances can private property be seized for transfer to any non-public use. We have a government and a court system that wants to impose government oversight over every aspect of its citizens' lives. The only way to prevent this is to specifically bar the government and the courts for being allowed to impose. We have gone a long way down the road to serfdom already and unless we act, we will wake up in a feudal system - which of course is precisely what the big government proponents in the courts and the government want - a hierarchy where they may enjoy the fruits of everyone else's labors.

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