July 13, 2006

Senator Cornyn on Property Rights

By Senator Cornyn on Property Rights

by Steven Geoffrey Gieseler

Texas Senator John Cornyn registers his displeasure with the Kelo holding by way of this column.  Two things:

(1)  Cornyn used to be a justice on the Texas Supreme Court, maybe affording him a different insight into the way the U.S. Supreme Court has mangled takings law; and

(2)  Authors of op-ed pieces usually don't get to pick the titles for their columns.  The newspaper typically does this, though a U.S. Senator surely gets more leeway than a guy like me.  Regardless of who titled Cornyn's column, it's an odd choice.  "This land is my land" clearly is an allusion to Woody Guthrie's ironic folk song, which not only has been mistaken for decades as a sort of minor league "God Bless America," but also contained original lyrics that "protested the institution of private ownership of land."

(Unless, of course, the column's title is meant to be ironic itself by drawing a parallel between Guthrie's view of private property and that of the Kelo Court et al.  Occam's Razor and all, I doubt it.)

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