In arguing against the direct implications of the 5th Amendment, Thomas Jefferson argued that no one, not even the government, should have the power to force a property owner to sell. James Madison argued that provided the property owner was compensated “justly” with fair market value and that the government’s purpose was for “public use” there was a compelling case for government intervention – hence, the 5th Amendment.
It is my position that this was another in a string of Federating influences (flaws) imposed upon what could have been “a more perfect confederation” as envisioned by several of the most intellectually active Revolutionary Founders. We have recently seen (Kelo) that which not just Jefferson was concerned about but clearly Patrick Henry as well. Their discomfort with the Federating of America has become our private property nightmare. The 5th Amendment, which was clearly intended to be a limitation on the long arm of government in dealing with arguably one of the most important facits of individual freedom (private property), is now wholly bastardized. What was once a limit is now a sanction – ‘public use’ has been redifined to mean ‘government purpose’ and ‘just compensation’ is no longer meaningful in terms of individual rights.
As so well stated recently by Judge Andrew Napolitano (Fox News Judicial Analyst, current book: The Constitution in Exile), the 1959 case of Courtesy Sandwich Shop, Inc. v. Port of New York Authority simply threw out the premise upon which the Declaration of Indepence was made, shredded any implications that the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was a limitation on government, and instituted in its place fully the concept that individual rights are subordinate to collective need.
As we premise in this blog site, the ‘vision’ of the founding has indeed been lost. The Kelo decision by the U.S. Supreme Court was, if anything, a stamp of approval on the federation and another pail of water thrown on the already cold embers of the original vision of The Declaration of Independence…