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Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Public Use Clause is Surplusage

Despite my misgivings with the O'Connor opinion, she makes a good point that there is now little, if any, difference between the protection offered by the Due Process Clause against irrational legislation and the protection offered by the Public Use Clause (although why she thinks that isn't the case under the Midkiff regime is a mystery).

Justice Kennedy's opinion also notes:
This Court has declared that a taking should be upheld as consistent with the Public Use Clause as long as it is "rationally related to a conceivable public purpose." Midkiff; see also Berman. This deferential standard of review echoes the rational-basis test used to review economic regulation under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, see, e.g., FCC v. Beach Communications, Inc.; Williamson v. Lee Optical.
My Federal Courts Professor thinks that the Equal Protection Clause in the Constitution is surplusage since only irrational discrimination violates it--legislation that would fail the Due Process Clause anyway. The Public Use Clause, under the Court's formulation in Kelo, is similarly surplusage.

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