View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Thursday, April 22, 2004

The Journal on Property Rights 

Who says the Wall Street Journal doesn't understand Main Street? Today's OpinionJournal carries a tart condemnation of, well, condemnation. This spot has covered local efforts to protect private property from blight rulings. Now, it's starting to get some national attention.

We grant that in Norwood's case all but a handful of holdouts have agreed to sell their land to the developer. We might even concede that the city, now swimming in red ink, would do better fiscally with the Crate & Barrel it's hoping to entice to the spanking new mall it has planned. But the thing about Constitutional property rights -- the reason we have a Fifth Amendment -- is that they're not supposed to be hostage to what the majority wants. To the contrary, the Founders wrote the right to property into the Constitution not only to secure a citizen's right to his home and livelihood but to serve as a check on government power.

The Left is often among the first to rise up in opposition to corporations, in theory on behalf of homeowners. Fair enough. Now if we can just get them to allow that property rights also include the use of that property, as well as its mere possession.

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