Thursday, June 23, 2005

Kelo vs. City of New London

It's Supreme Court season, which I think is lots of fun -- fun in a policy-wonkish sort of way, that is. I mean, it's rare for any government action to happen so quickly and have such a dramatic, and clearly understood, effect on American life. Congress has been haggling over its "energy policy" since 2001, and still hasn't passed it, and lord knows when Iraq will ever be a stable, democratic state, but by god, from this day forward, governments can take private property and "redistribute" it to another private party if that private party's use of the property would provide greater economic benefit to the public. As I understand it. Which is to say, not much at all at this point. Still, on the face of it, this idea sounds crazy. Of course, you always have to be careful to react to the LEGAL reasoning, not the POLICY implications, in Supreme Court decisions. So I have no idea yet whether I agree with the majority's reasoning in deciding this case. Still, the decision seems most curious, if you think about what it will mean in practice.

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