I read with fascination an article in your publication the other day. It was entitled, “The Supreme Court Repeals the Constitution,” and was written by Sheldon Richman of the Future of Freedom Foundation and posted on July 7, 2005.
The topic was the recent U.S. Supreme Court case ”’Kelo v. City of New London”’. I agreed the main critique that this case weakens the Takings Clause by allowing private property to be subject to eminent domain and to be taken from a private party and given to another private party for a public purpose. This is bad. This is a threat to property rights, which are essential to liberty and an ordered society.
I do have one quibble with that article, however. Richman writes: “They condemned a number of homes and stores in a decent working-class neighborhood to make way for a Pfizer research facility, upscale restaurants, and other businesses.”
In reading the article side by side with the Supreme Court opinion, it is clear that this statement of Richman is wrong. It is just erroneous. It is not because I want to defend the big pharmaceuticals or cheer lead for big business. I just think that we need to get our facts right before we go to print!
I share Richman’s disagreement with the Kelo case decision. But in reading the decision, it is clearly OTHER private parties to which the subject property is being transferred. The Supreme court says that a parcel was “adjacent” to the Pfizer property, or the court says “the record clearly demonstrates that the development plan was not intended to serve the interests of Pfizer,” or elsewhere the court says “located immediately north of the Pfizer facility ….” A simple computer search of this Supreme Court opinion confirms that none of the property condemned was being transferred to Pfizer.
In all of these cases, the facts are clearly discernible from the Supreme Court opinion. How could Richman get it wrong? As a reader, I may have to read opinions with which I disagree, but I am entitled to the facts. And if Richman did not mean to imply Pfizer was getting that private property, why didn’t he say so. We do not need to jump on the liberal bandwagon of bashing corporations in order to critique a Supreme Court decision which deserves critique.
”’David Pendleton, a former state Republican lawmaker and attorney, can be reached via email at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”’