Friday, June 24, 2005

The Charles Wilson Wing of the Supreme Court sez...

That what's good for Pfizer Inc. is good for the country, in its decision to evict lawful residents from their homes (Kelo v. New London). As usual the most cogent argument (in dissent) is made by one of the two most cerebral justices, Clarence Thomas: is backwards to adopt a searching standard of constitutional review for nontraditional property interests, such as welfare benefits, ...while deferring to the legislature’s determination as to what constitutes a public use when it exercises the power of eminent domain, and thereby invades individuals’ traditional rights in real property.

The Court has elsewhere recognized "the overriding respect for the sanctity of the home that has been embedded in our traditions since the origins of the Republic," ...when the issue is only whether the government may search a home. Yet today the Court tells us that we are not to "second-guess the City’s considered judgments," ...when the issue is, instead, whether the government may take the infinitely more intrusive step of tearing down petitioners’ homes.

Something has gone seriously awry with this Court’s interpretation of the Constitution. Though citizens are safe from the government in their homes, the homes themselves are not.

Thomas then goes on to iterate the racist uses to which the power of eminent domain has been put:

In the 1950’s, no doubt emboldened in part by the expansive understanding of "public use" this Court adopted in Berman, cities "rushed to draw plans" for downtown development. ...."Of all the families displaced by urban renewal from 1949 through 1963, 63 percent of those whose race was known were nonwhite, and of these families, 56 percent of nonwhites and 38 percent of whites had incomes low enough to qualify for public housing, which, however, was seldom available to them."

...Public works projects in the 1950’s and 1960’s destroyed predominantly minority communities in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Baltimore, Maryland. .... In 1981, urban planners in Detroit, Michigan, uprooted the largely "lower-income and elderly" Poletown neighborhood for thebenefit of the General Motors Corporation.

....Urban renewal projects have long been associated with the displacement of blacks; "[i]n cities across the country, urban renewal came to be known as ‘Negro removal.’ "

[Emphases above those of the Fly Under the Bridge Academy]

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