Walter E. Williams

We all should applaud the directors and officers of Branch Banking and Trust Company for their courage. While boards of directors have a duty to maximize shareholder value, BB&T has shown that maximizing shareholder value is not solely a monetary phenomenon but has a moral component as well. As such they have chosen not to be accessories to last year's despicable U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Branch Banking and Trust Company directors have set the example for other financial institutions. It would make my day if the boards of directors of other financial institutions followed suit. If they don't, shareholders could supply them with a bit of backbone at annual meetings with a shareholder initiative that not lending to developers who have acquired private property through eminent domain law become corporate policy.

Congress has responded to the Kelo decision with the bipartisan Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2005 that "prohibits any state or political subdivision from exercising its power of eminent domain for economic development if that state or political subdivision receives federal economic development funds during the fiscal year." This measure demonstrates Congress' lack of courage. Why not start impeachment proceedings against justices who flagrantly violate their oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution?

Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
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