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Samizdata quote of the day

“It seems to be the general opinion, fortified by a strong current of judicial opinion, that since the American revolution no state government can be presumed to possess the transcendental sovereignty to take away vested rights of property; to take the property of A. and transfer it to B. by a mere legislative act. A government can scarcely be deemed to be free, where the rights of property are left solely dependent upon a legislative body, without any restraint. The fundamental maxims of a free government seem to require, that the rights of personal liberty, and private property should be held sacred. At least, no court of justice, in this country, would be warranted in assuming, that any state legislature possessed a power to violate and disregard them; or that such a power, so repugnant to the common principles of justice and civil liberty, lurked under any general grant of legislative authority, or ought to be implied from any general expression of the will of the people, in the usual forms of the constitutional delegation of power. The people ought not to be presumed to part with rights, so vital to their security and well-being, without very strong, and positive declarations to that effect.”

-Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story. (With thanks to Professor Reynolds.)

14 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Winzeler

    We are one step closer to a new revolution.

  • Thomas J. Jackson

    Score another one for the advocates of a living Constitution. America’s foundations are being attacked by an unelected judiciary which is trampling on the Constitution. The US is paying for the flaws in the Constitution as well as politicians that have allowed an imperial judiciary to act as Nero did.

    It is time to act on Shakespeare dictum regarding lawyers. This issue isn’t resolved yet. I’d hate to be the government that tries to steal the property of an honest citizen.

  • John

    The Rottweiller got it right, this is why we have a 2nd amend.

    a couple of good round ups:

    also a more localized one:

    This is gonna be big, I hope

  • 1. The most important thing about the Supreme Court is “how” and not “what!”

    As I argued before, The process is more important than the end result. You can’t “make up” rules and decisions.

    See also, Charles Krauthmammer’s article in Wa Po about 2 weeks ago about the Supreme Court.

    2. Here is a great satire – funny..a must read about the recent Supreme Court decision


    Or go to http://satire.myblogsite.com/blog

    3. Some day the “conservatives” in the Supreme Court will have a majority and rule their way. Some day the “liberals” in the Supreme Court will have a majority and rule their way.

    So, you must first interpret (1) the text of the Constitution, (2) then, if ambiguous, go to the Original Intent of the Founding Fathers. I know, I didn’t do justice to the Constitution, but it will take 3 books to write about it, so I gave you a summary, but it boils down to the text and the intent. Otherwise, you believe the “Constitution is a living document” and you interpret as you go along.

    For a humorous take on “the living document” theory, read
    Michael Jackson Receives 4 official and 1 unoffical Oscar Verdict

    June 18, 2005 article at http://satire.myblogsite.com/blog

  • James

    This is a fecking disgrace.

  • Honestly,
    This has freaked the shit out of me. I am going to hijack every thread I can until every blog mentions this. Shit. Shit. Shit. Can anyone explain how people can not be freaked out by this?

  • Johnathan

    When are the remnants of those libertarians in the GOP going to wake up and raise hell about this?

    This is an outrage. Eminent domain is just a form of legalised looting and is deeply corrupting as well. Shameful.

    Lots of links over at Glenn Reynolds’ place today about this.

  • I am freaked out by this, and I am even not a libertarian.

  • J

    Yeah, what Alisa said. My dad can’t decide what’s worse – the ruling, or the fact he’s ended up siding with the conservatives in the Supreme Court.

    It’s deeply worrying, but also baffling. When did the US suddenly change? Am I right in thinking that this isn’t a sudden burst of socialist enthusiasm, but rather a feeling that free enterprise for the many should not be curtailed by property rights for the few? I’ve no idea of the psychology behind this decision.


  • MikeG

    Historicaly the government has stolen land from the Indians the Mexicans now it’s the white man’s turn.

  • John

    Finally, in a coda, the Court suggests that property owners should turn to the States, who may or may not choose to impose appropriate limits on economic development takings. Ante, at 19. This is an abdication of our responsibility. States play many important functions in our system of dual sovereignty, but compensating for our refusal to enforce properly the Federal Constitution (and a provision meant to curtail state action, no less) is not among them.

    Justice O’Connor’s dissent(Link)

  • Doug Jones

    “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” – Mark Twain.

    And now that also applies to city councils. Arrrgh.

  • Dave

    Have you emailed your Senators and Representatives yet? I have, and ALL of you should do the same. This decision must not stand.