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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 27, 2005 / 20 Sivan, 5765

Supreme Court fails its duty in property ruling

By Robert Robb

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Last Thursday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that private property can be confiscated by government for private development stands the Constitution, as written by the founders, on its head.

Sandra Day O'Connor's dissent quotes Alexander Hamilton as saying that the "security of property" was one of the "great objects of government." That was a universally shared view among the founders. In fact, it's fair to say that the founders agreed on that principle more than any other.

That protection was given concrete reality in the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment, which states: "nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation."

As Clarence Thomas painstakingly points out in his dissent, by this the founders did not mean that private property could be taken for private use without just compensation. They meant that private property could not be taken for private use, period.

The majority opinion, written by John Paul Stevens, contends, however, that private property can be taken for private use so long as government perceives that the public will benefit from the change in use. Moreover, the court isn't going to get into the business of second-guessing local governments about what constitutes a public benefit or whether the change in use will result in one.

This completely reverses the intent of the founders to create a system of private property protected by government. Instead, according to the court, all property is in a fundamental sense communal. Government can take it from a private owner any time government believes that someone else would put it to a use government prefers.

The facts in this case couldn't more clearly illustrate the intent of the founders. One of the plaintiffs contesting the condemnation was born in the house the government wanted to confiscate in 1918. The home has been in her family for over 100 years. Her husband moved into the home with her when they were married. They bought the house next door as a wedding present for their son, who still lives there. Their homes have been well maintained, as the majority opinion concedes. The town of New London, Connecticut wanted to confiscate their homes and turn the property over to an office developer.

To fail to acknowledge that the intent of the founders was to protect such people in such circumstances requires a perverse historical blindness. Such takings are precisely what the Fifth Amendment was supposed to prevent.

The ruling will not have as much effect in Arizona as elsewhere. Arizona's Constitution has its own prohibition against government taking property for private use. Moreover, it flatly says that determining whether a use is public or private is a judicial decision and is to be made "without regard to any legislative assertion that the use is public." So, Arizona courts don't get to duck their duty the way the U.S. Supreme Court did.

Nevertheless, how the federal courts interpret comparable provisions does influence how state courts tend to interpret their own provisions. So, the federal ruling might cause Arizona state courts to give government at least slightly greater leeway in condemnations.

Nationally, the unwillingness of the U.S. Supreme Court to do the job the founders envisioned is leading to a crisis of liberty.

The founders intended to create an energetic but limited government. The job of the U.S. Supreme Court was to protect fundamental liberties against an overreaching government.

To the founders, there were no more fundamental liberties than private property rights and the freedom of political speech.

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In this case, the court has abandoned protecting private property against confiscation by an overreaching government. Previously, it had abandoned protecting political speech against government regulation and limitation when it upheld McCain-Feingold.

Meanwhile, the court has aggressively protected rights of its own creation, such as to an abortion or to homosexual sex.

Now, an intellectually honest argument can be made that the new rights the court has created are logically derived from the explicit rights the founders clearly established in the Constitution and created the Supreme Court in part to protect.

But no intellectually honest defense can be made of a court that aggressively protects the derivative rights while abandoning protection of the explicit rights.

In our system of government, if the U.S. Supreme Court is unwilling to protect fundamental liberties against an overreaching government, what's a free people to do?

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JWR contributor Robert Robb is a columnist for The Arizona Republic. Comment by clicking here.

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