One of the arguments that is made by those who support the statists’ version of health care “reform” is that the government needs to have more and more control of it as a benefit to the general welfare of the American people. Those like President Obama and those who worship him will say they have plans ready to go, plans that have been in development for years, plans that will make this succeed. It’s a crock, especially seeing how the House threw together the garbage they passed the other night. Worse yet, the House bill has a provision to steal private property, our money, if we don’t follow its dictate to buy a policy that meets the changing standards of the federal government. Unfortunately, any legal challenges to throw out an expansion of government’s control of health care, if and when it passes and is signed into law, and including the penalty provisions within, would probably be itself thrown out by this Supreme Court.
A recent Supreme Court ruling highlights both the fallacy of government planning and the Court’s unconstitutional expansion of the Takings Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment. I’m talking about the Court’s infamous Kelo v. New London ruling which allowed the city government of New London to take property away from a private party (after being “justly” compensated, whatever that means) to give it (sell it) to another private party, justifying the action as well within the meaning of “public use”. Again, it’s a crock. The Pfizer corporation, the second private party that was to be the recipient of the land New London won in Kelo has abandoned the site. Now New London has “Weeds, glass, bricks, pieces of pipe and shingle splinters” in place instead of taxpaying homeowners or tax revenues from Pfizer.
Both Justice Stevens in his majority opinion (joined by Justices Kennedy, Breyer, Souter, and Ginsburg) and Justice Kennedy in his concurring opinion mention the “careful” planning that was put in place by New London and its development agency as part of the justification for what is basically grand larceny. Here’s some of what Stevens has to say:
Those who govern the City were not confronted with the need to remove blight in the Fort Trumbull area, but their determination that the area was sufficiently distressed to justify a program of economic rejuvenation is entitled to our deference. The City has carefully formulated an economic development plan that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including–but by no means limited to–new jobs and increased tax revenue. As with other exercises in urban planning and development, the City is endeavoring to coordinate a variety of commercial, residential, and recreational uses of land, with the hope that they will form a whole greater than the sum of its parts. To effectuate this plan, the City has invoked a state statute that specifically authorizes the use of eminent domain to promote economic development. Given the comprehensive character of the plan, the thorough deliberation that preceded its adoption, and the limited scope of our review, it is appropriate for us, as it was in Berman, to resolve the challenges of the individual owners, not on a piecemeal basis, but rather in light of the entire plan. Because that plan unquestionably serves a public purpose, the takings challenged here satisfy the public use requirement of the Fifth Amendment.
According to the opinion, plaintiffs made the argument that New London and Pfizer also needed to show a certainty that the public benefits would actually happen. Stevens said nah, they don’t have to:
Alternatively, petitioners maintain that for takings of this kind we should require a “reasonable certainty” that the expected public benefits will actually accrue. Such a rule, however, would represent an even greater departure from our precedent. “When the legislature’s purpose is legitimate and its means are not irrational, our cases make clear that empirical debates over the wisdom of takings–no less than debates over the wisdom of other kinds of socioeconomic legislation–are not to be carried out in the federal courts.” Midkiff, 467 U.S., at 242.
What Stevens says is even more egregious; the government can take privately owned land even if nothing comes of it.
Kennedy’s opinion is no better:
This taking occurred in the context of a comprehensive development plan meant to address a serious city-wide depression, and the projected economic benefits of the project cannot be characterized as de minimus.
Now, those projected economic benefits of the taking are not only de minimus (a trifling matter), they are non-existent. What seems to be de minimus for Kennedy (and Stevens) are the rights of individuals to keep private property, even against the law of unintended consequences.
The statists on the Supreme Court who ruled in the majority in Kelo, along with being accessories to grand theft, have no standards; they will say they have evolving standards, but that’s another way of saying they have no standards, since a standard is supposed to mean something as a set way of doing things. The Constitution clearly upholds the right of individuals to own private property that is not to be taken by an overreaching government on a whim. But to these clowns on the Supreme Court, private property and the Constitution have no meaning.
As mentioned earlier, all that planning done by New London has left the city with acres of weeds. All the planning the statists have done and are doing with health care will end up being nothing more than what New London has ended up with, weeds.
God help us.
(Hat tip: Memeorandum)