by Rod D. Martin
June 25, 2013
As if the striking down of pre-clearance wasn’t enough, the Supremes today struck an enormous blow for the Fifth Amendment and for private property rights. For years various levels of government in the allegedly free country we inhabit have been depriving landowners of the use of their property without compensation.
The usual way this works (and, in point of fact, the situation in the case the Supremes decided) is as such: EPA or similar environmental bureaucrat decides your slightly damp property — sometimes literally from temporary runoff following a storm! — is a “wetland” and subject to protection. The government then restricts the landowner from doing anything with his own land, but requires him to keep it up, make any improvements on it the bureaucracy dictates, and of course pay taxes on it. He just can’t use it for himself. Ever.
The Fifth Amendment says government can’t take your property without due process of law and just compensation, but the environmental Nazis don’t bother with niceties like that. Unfortunately for them, a man and his father who owned just 15 acres of such land were willing to battle the full force of multiple levels of government for over 18 years to finally see victory today.
It is inspiring to see the little guys triumph. But that, after all, is why we have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights: to protect us, the little guy, from gargantuan powers that would crush us left unchecked. It is sad that all too often those powers are our own leaders, those we pay to protect us. But today, our system worked.