Blogs > Liberty and Power > More Kelo and the Left

Jun 26, 2005 8:14 am

More Kelo and the Left

You know, the next time some thick-headed liberal spouts off about how I or my employer, the Cato Institute, shouldn't be taken seriously because we're"funded by corporations," (a vacant charge, but that's beside the point) I think I'll point to Kelo.

It is the" corporate-funded" libertarian organizations like Cato (who filed an amicus brief in the case) and the Institute for Justice (who represented the plaintiffs) who sided with the low and middle-income home owners over the land-grabbing corporations, here (not to mention the elderly who, because they tend to value the sentiment attached to their homes -- where they raised their kids, for example -- over the money they might get for them, tend to be disproportionately affected by eminent domain).

It is the Elite Left who sold those people out in favor of big government.

And it is libertarians like Cato Senior Fellow Randy Barnet, for example, who represented Angel Raich and the cancer, AIDS, and MS-stricken patients just like her before the Supreme Court. It is the Elite Left who, along side the major pharmaceutical companies, abandoned Raich and thousands just like her in favor of a more powerful federal government.

There's no better example of how the Elite Left's absurd allegiances have led it to obscene policies than this editorial from the Washington Post.

The Post's editorial board argues that had the court ruled differently in Raich it could not rule as it did in a subsequent case, GDF Realty Investments vs. Norton. There, the USSC refused to hear a case in which lower courts had ruled that the Endangered Species Act prevents the building of a hospital on land inhabited by a 1/8-inch cave-dwelling bug that exists only in the state of Texas. Tying the two cases together, the Washington Post argues that this exercise of federal power is well worth making Angel Raich and thousands just like her suffer, deteriorate, and possibly die -- because it's imperative that the federal government have the power to force states to protect obscure species of bug with no economic value.

I wish I were joking:
Medical marijuana and cave-dwelling insects may not seem to have much in common, but federal authority over both depends on the same constitutional principle: Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce. The court over the past decade has reminded Congress that this power, while broad, is not infinite; a valid exercise of it must have some relationship to commerce. This reminder is healthy, but it also poses dangers, and the court has left key questions unanswered: What about an endangered species that lives only in a single state but is threatened by commercial activity? This is the question posed by GDF Realty and some other cases pending in the lower courts.


The decision not to hear it suggests that the justices are not itching to radically redefine the balance of power between Congress and the states. This is good news for those who believe in strong federal environmental protections, the policy area likely to be most devastated by a revolutionary approach to federalism.
It doesn't get much more black and white than that. The left once dismissed the"you care more about spotted owls than you do about people" line of argument as a caricature of its position.

No more. Eighth-of-an-inch cave bugs get to live. Cancer patients who rely on medical marijuana to keep their medicine down can suffer and die, for all the Post cares.

Actually, it's worse than that. The cancer patients must suffer, so that the federal government can adequately protect the bugs.

I can't envision a scenario that better illustrates the perverse values embraced by the big government left.

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Stephan (K-dog) Kinsella - 7/14/2005

Good point JTK. Moreover, the problem with complaints about Kelo is that they fail to recognize the Supreme Court has no authority to review state laws in this regard. The Fifth Amendment is a limit on federal power only; not a grant of power to the feds to review state laws. The 14th Amendment--illegally ratified anyway--did not change this.

And why is it worse to give expropriated property to a private owner than to an agency of the criminal state?

John T. Kennedy - 6/26/2005

"t is the Elite Left who sold those people out in favor of big government."

It was the framers of the Constitution who did that in asserting the right to take their land and wealth - an act of naked usurpation.