RUSH: Let’s go to the phones while we have a moment. Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Joe, you’re first. Nice to have you with us. Hello, sir.
CALLER: Hi. Listen, um, the way I see it, this ruling by the Supreme Court, uh, reverts power back to the states. Doesn’t it? It’s the local state that decides the extent of — of what the property right is. When the Bill of Rights was–
RUSH: So what? A government is a government. Just because it… What am I missing here? Let me put forth for you a hypothesis, and you tell me if you think it’s okay.
RUSH: You live — and you’re middle class — you live in an average, run-of-the-mill home on a lake there in Wisconsin with maybe ten or 12 other property owners —
RUSH: — and a corporate entity comes in and says, “You know what?” they say to the state of Wisconsin or even to the town of Kenosha, maybe both of them together, “these dilapidated houses that you got there on the lake, we want to build a major hotel and resort and golf course with an office park there, and we need that property. We need you to take that property so that we can build this and your tax base is going to go sky high. You’re going to be collecting more tax base from our property than you are from these little rundown shacks that are currently there,” and the state of Wisconsin and town of Kenosha say, “Good idea,” and they come to you, Joe, and they say, “Guess what? You lose your house.”
RUSH: Do you think that’s okay?
CALLER: Oh, no, of course not.
RUSH: Well that’s what happens.
CALLER: I understand that. This really isn’t a question of liberal or conservative. This is simply creating an opportunity for corrupt politicians to take bribes from corporations. It’s corporate. This is corporatism. It’s not liberalism; it’s not conservative.
RUSH: It most definitely is liberal versus conservative because there’s no conservative court in the land that would decide to kick you off your property for some other private citizen to build something else. This is not the same thing as the State of Wisconsin saying, “Joe, we need to put a boat dock there. The state is going to run it. We need to put a road through your property to improve living conditions here, and here’s the price we’re going to give you. It’s the fair market value. You can go move somewhere else.” This is the state saying to another group of private citizens, who are wealthier than you, Joe, they want your property.
The government says, “Fine, you can have it. We’ll take it for you.” This is not reverting it to the states. This is not reverting it to local government. This is the Supreme Court allowing the states to choose citizens they want to own what property where, for the express benefit of the state. The state and the city of New London, Connecticut, are going to get the lion’s share of a new tax base because of this decision while the existing homeowners get thrown off their property. My point is the liberals are running around saying that they defend the little guy; they protect the little guy against corporate America, evil developers and so forth. And yet, who has been sided with here? The distinction is — and it’s important — the distinction here is that the Supreme Court decided that the state can choose which property owner it wants on a specific tract of land, and that’s not what the takings clause in the Constitution says. It hasn’t a legitimate government interest.
What’s just been established here is that the legitimate government interest is a better tax flow from richer, more elite people owning property than the little guy — and you would never have a full bunch of conservatives citing this way or finding this way in a case like this. But liberals who are mistakenly assumed to be for the little guy actually are for big government, be it state, be it local, federal, whatever.
RUSH: I’m thinking about the call we got, just right before the hour, previous hour concluded, from somebody in Kenosha who thought that the Supreme Court decision in New London, Connecticut, on the taking of private property was actually not an ideological thing at all. It was actually good, the court sending it back to a local government to make up its mind about something, and I read a couple e-mails today from somebody that said, “You’re over the top on this, Rush. You need to read the Wall Street Journal today. This is all about sending it back to local governments.”
I said, “Whoa. It is time for a constitutional lesson.” Every time I hear things like this it reminds me just how woefully inept or education on the US Constitution is. Let me tell you what the Constitution is. First of all, just in brief seminar, the Constitution does two things. It structures the government and then limits the government’s powers, specifically the Bill of Rights. The whole purpose of the Bill the Rights, the first 10 amendments, is to limit the government’s power, not to define our freedoms.
It does not tell us what we can and can’t do. It limits the government’s power. Now, anybody who understands the basis from which the founders wrote the Constitution and their life experiences leading up to it will understand that they were just scared to death of an imperial government being created, and they saw as students of history the natural tendency of men with power to try to go grasp more and amass more at the expense of private citizens.
Now, the Bill of Rights provides specific instances in the people are to be protected from the government. It enumerates them. Now, the Ninth Amendment of the Bill of Rights provides that the rights that are not specifically protected by the Constitution, those that are not mentioned in the Bill of Rights, belong to the people. But so important are private property rights that the founders decided to specifically say so in the Bill of Rights. It’s the taking clause in the Fifth Amendment. Now, most people think the Fifth Amendment is where you can’t incriminate yourself. “I’m going to plead the Fifth, Your Honor.” It’s far more detailed than that.
The taking clause is in the Fifth Amendment. Now, for the last 50 years or so, the Bill of Rights has largely been interpreted to also apply to the states, so no level of government is constitutionally permitted to seize private property unless it’s for public use and is justly compensated for a public use. That’s what “government” means: public sector versus private sector. This case in New London, Connecticut had nothing to do with public use. This had to do with private sector use of land that is already owned by other private citizens. The government’s interest in it was tax revenue.
Now in last week’s decision New London, Connecticut decided to take property from Citizen A and, through a planning scheme, deliver it to Citizen B simply because Citizen B would likely pay more in taxes to the town. The Framers never authorized any government to have such power — and the plain language of the Fifth Amendment doesn’t do it, either. So what the court did is side with government against individual liberty as it is do repeatedly now, particularly when the interests of big government — and when you’ve got a liberal court like we have… I keep trying to make this point, as I keep running into more and more Democrats and I keep asking them, “How in the world can you support some of the wacko fringe kookisms that are coming out of the mouths of Howard Dean and Dick Durbin?”
“Well, yeah, I know but, you know, the Democrats have just always stood for the little guy.”
They haven’t! That’s another giant myth. It’s been created as a myth; people believe it as a myth because the Democrats talk that game. But when you look at powerful liberals and powerful Democrats, you see what they do. Their interest is always in the growth of the state — government, be it local, be it state, be it federal, and that’s what this decision did. The takings clause of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution mentions “public use,” requires public use; roads, bridges, things to increase or enhance all members of the community and their life experience. It’s not meant for the government to be able to choose Private Citizen A over Private Citizen B, which is what happened in the New London case.