I was listening to Dave Ramsey this morning and a young woman called in about her parents. They had been ‘borrowing’ money from her since she was 14. She is older now, on her own, and her parents are still asking for money.

Her father is a signer on her accounts. Those accounts were created when she was younger. Whenever her father needs money, the last excuse was paying his taxes, he takes it from her checking account. She is closing that account and the others.

Her parents have also taken out loans in her name as well. They have always said they would repay her but have not done so. They’ve not repaid a penny since they started taking her money at age 14. She has no expectation that her parents will ever repay her. Her parents, if I remember the conversation correctly, claim she owes them the money because they raised her.

The situation struck me as similar to that of us, the citizens of the United States, to our governments. They take our money, claim it is to be for some service and rarely, if ever, meet the obligations they promised…other than to grow, expand government and demand more money.

The Census Bureau released some data last week that in the United States, 86 million people worked supporting 150 million who didn’t. The government promised THEM goodies and then took our money to pay for those same goodies. In some circles, that’s known as ‘theft by other means.’

The 5th Amendment to the US Constitution has a prohibition to the Federal Government from taking property, assets, without ‘just compensation’ for public use. Those last two words are important and, thanks to Justice John Paul Stevens, has been eviscerated in a case known as Kelo v. New London.

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.[1]Wiki.

That case was unusual in that the seizure of private property via Eminent Domain, was by the local government for private use by a land developer, not for public use. The developer didn’t want his “project surrounded by tenements.”

Kelo Decision A Rousing Success

streiff (Diary) April 18th, 2014 at 10:10AMkelo2Nine years ago the US Supreme Court, in an opinion authored by noted Second Amendment authority John Paul Stevens, eviscerated the “takings” clause of the Fifth Amendment. That decision, Kelo v. City of New London, essentially eliminated property rights so long as someone more powerful than the current owner wanted the land.

New London, a city in Connecticut, used its eminent domain authority to seize private property to sell to private developers. The city said developing the land would create jobs and increase tax revenues. Kelo Susette and others whose property was seized sued New London in state court. The property owners argued the city violated the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause, which guaranteed the government will not take private property for public use without just compensation. Specifically the property owners argued taking private property to sell to private developers was not public use. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled for New London.

So how did it work out? This theory that the state can take a poor man’s house to give to a rich man to make him richer?

The Kelo ruling was controversial and precedent-setting because, under eminent domain, the government may seize the property of a private citizen when it’s deemed necessary for public use — the construction of an airport, freeway, or post office — and they usually do so politely, giving notice and paying out the appraised value, for example, but in this case the private property was being seized not for necessary public use but for commercial development by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

“Pfizer wants a nice place to operate,” a supercilious executive reportedly said in 2001. “We don’t want to be surrounded by tenements.”

But after prompting city officials to pave the way for its new research facility with the promise of tax revenue and new jobs for the city, Pfizer pulled out of New London in 2009, leaving the land undeveloped, the homeowners dispossessed, their homes demolished, the land bulldozed into a vacant lot that still sits empty. After being elected in 2011, New London’s mayor called it “black stain” on the town’s reputation in an apology to the homeowners.

The question, then, is how is Kelo v. New London any different that the seizure of public lands for non-public use? Such seizures that led to the recent confrontations near Bunkerville, NV? To many minds, there is little or no difference.

A late claim by the BLM and the Department of the Interior was that the land was needed for a conservation refuge for the Desert Tortoise. The tortoise had been thriving amid the cattle grazing on the land. The cattle and the tortoise don’t eat the same vegetation. In fact, the BLM had been killing some of those same tortoise and the population of desert tortoises had decreased under BLM care.

The similarities of the two cases, the Bundys v. the BLM, and Kelo v. New London, are prime examples of governmental abuse specifically prohibited under the ‘takings’ clause of the 5th Amendment. Kelo v. New London was crucial because it changed the definition of ‘public use.’ The 5th Amendment ‘takings’ prohibition was eviscerated by John Paul Stevens.

Why do I blame Justice Stevens? He wrote the majority opinion of the case.

On June 23, 2005, the Supreme Court, in a 5–4 decision, ruled in favor of the City of New London. Justice Stevens wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Justice Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion setting out a more detailed standard for judicial review of economic development takings than that found in Stevens’s majority opinion. In so doing, Justice Kennedy contributed to the Court’s trend of turning minimum scrutiny—the idea that government policy need only bear a rational relation to a legitimate government purpose—into a fact-based test. — Wiki.

The purpose of the Constitution is to put boundaries on the Federal Government. More and more, it is being twisted to impose restrictions on citizens.

When the states created their constitutions, many copied the tenets, and often the actual text, of the federal constitution. That’s one reason why every state has a similar basis. For instance, every state has three branches of government, a Legislature, an Executive, and a Court. Most states also have counterparts to the 2nd and other Amendments. When components of the federal constitution are changed, the effects trickle down to the states.

In every case where the boundaries of the federal government are changed in favor of the government, the states, particularly the ‘blue’ states, shift, change accordingly. With each change, the constitutions become more irrelevant. If the governments don’t conform to constitutions and law, why should individual citizens?

That is a question government should fear and its possible answers.