Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”     Thomas Jefferson

June 23, 2010

Quote Of The Day

by Brad Warbiany

Supreme Court justice William Douglas, in the 1954 ruling Berman v. Parker (a precursor to Kelo, which “celebrates” its 5-year anniversary today):

The concept of the public welfare is broad and inclusive. The values it represents are spiritual as well as physical, aesthetic as well as monetary. It is within the power of the legislature to determine that the community should be beautiful as well as healthy, spacious as well as clean, well balanced as well as carefully patrolled. In the present case, the Congress and its authorized agencies have made determinations that take into account a wide variety of values. It is not for us to reappraise them. If those who govern the District of Columbia decide that the Nation’s Capital should be beautiful as well as sanitary, there is nothing in the Fifth Amendment that stands in the way.

Such beautiful prose, fitting someone who wears that fine black robe.

Unfortunately, the opinion is also a blank check for Congress, a group not well known for their self-control.

One wonders exactly what this measures this court would ever have opposed, should Congress decide in favor of beauty and sanitation?

Once the object is within the authority of Congress, the means by which it will be attained is also for Congress to determine. Here, one of the means chosen is the use of private enterprise for redevelopment of the area. Appellants argue that this makes the project a taking from one businessman for the benefit of another businessman. But the means of executing the project are for Congress, and Congress alone, to determine once the public purpose has been established.

Yep…

Completely blank check.

Hat Tip: Jason Pye @ United Liberty

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