Category Archives: 5th Amendment
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In the economic doldrums of the late 1970s, the State of Michigan hit on an idea to take over some land it liked and build a car plant which would create jobs and economic benefit. The people who owned the land weren’t all that thrilled about the idea, nevertheless, the state persisted. Eventually, the Michigan Supreme Court decided that the taking was a legitimate use of eminent domain for economic benefit. Thirty-seven years later, it didn’t turn out to be such a great idea.
The State of Indiana argued yesterday that seizing a person’s car for doing 5mph over the speed limit was not an “excessive fine.” Seriously. That’s not a joke. They really argued that. The Supreme Court didn’t think that it was funny.
In recent days, we have watched the debate over the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice. While the debate rages around things such as abortion, gay rights, women’s rights, and so forth, the single fact remains that these things are rarely the meat and potatoes of what the Supreme Court does. Almost never are those things noticed until after the fact. indeed, very few (if any) questions of any nominee relate to them or to the understanding of how those things might end up affecting our day to day lives. Read the rest of this entry
James Madison once wrote that “A Government is instituted to protect property of every sort…This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.”
So what happens when a government, other then the national government, that is, decides that it wants what you have, even if they claim it’s for a “public benefit?”
In the Township of Scott, Pennsylvania, a nice old lady – she’s even named Rose Mary Knick – owns a cute place on the edge of town that has a bit of property around it that – this is important – she owns.
(Commence menacing music here) Read the rest of this entry