Grass-roots conservatives are again asserting themselves forcefully and effectively against governmental impudence. Having defeated President George W. Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court and the Dubai Ports sellout, conservatives are now flexing their muscles against supremacist judges and money-grasping public officials.
It is remarkable how the 2005 Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Kelo v. City of New London, Conn., has riled normally apathetic Americans and motivated them into asserting people power over the twin powers of government and money.
Thirty state legislatures have passed laws or constitutional amendments to limit the effect of the Kelo ruling and provide protection against abusive seizures of private property for other private purposes.
In addition, 11 states will have ballot measures this year to protect private property rights. The issue carries double-barreled clout because the voters are both repudiating government seizures of private property AND repudiating the favorite liberal goal of increasing the flow of tax money into government's clutches.
These slaps at local public officials and increased taxes also include a reprimand of the Supreme Court in the Kelo case, which has endangered the ownership of every home, business, church and farm. The justices thought they could evolve the U.S. Constitution's words "public use," which would include a highway or a public building, into the words "public purpose," which is defined to include transferring private property of lower-income people to higher-income people who will pay higher taxes, and just about anything that comes under a redevelopment plan.
Neither the U.S. Constitution nor any other statute authorizes the use eminent domain to seize private property in order to raise more money for government. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in dissent in the Kelo case: "Something has gone seriously awry with this court's interpretation of the Constitution."
The justices only get away with this sort of decision because law schools have propagated the myth that whatever the Supreme Court says is the law of the land. The question for the American people is: Are we a nation of self-government, or are we going to submit to rule by black-robed judges? Since the Kelo decision, more than 5,700 private properties have been threatened by or taken over by this power of eminent domain, a tremendous increase over the preceding five years. The Kelo decision made local officials and developers bolder and bolder in the taking of private property.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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