Judge: State Has Broad Power; Constitution Doesn’t Matter

Because the state has broad power, it can supposedly do things not allowed in the constitution.

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You may have noticed that the world keeps getting more like a dystopian warning novel written by a conservative or Libertarian. It started back during the TARP bailout in 2008 and the news continues to get more and more unreal. If some conservative had written a novel, for example, in which the architect for a totalitarian government program admitted on video (seven times no less!) that it was based on fraud and fooling stupid voters, critics would deride the story as unrealistic propaganda with two-dimensional characters.

And now we have the completely unbelievable court ruling that could only happen in some kind of Libertarian morality play. A judge has ruled that the New Jersey State Constitution doesn’t matter because the state enjoys “broad” powers that allow it to do whatever it wants no matter what the Constitution says.

We all knew many judges believed this. We just don’t get such a straightforward admission that often.

David Roots reports in Reason Magazine’s Hit & Run blog,

According to the New Jersey Constitution, state officials may only condemn private property for redevelopment purposes when that property is “blighted.” Yet in a ruling issued on Monday, Judge Julio L. Mendez of the New Jersey Superior Court allowed Atlantic City to seize one man’s non-blighted family home. Why? Because the state enjoys “broad” powers, the judge said, and the courts have no business standing in the way.

Known as Casino Reinvestment Development Authority v. Birnbaum, this case originated in 2012 when Atlantic City officials announced a “South Inlet Mixed Use Development Project” designed to “complement the new Revel Casino and assist with the demands created by the resort.” Although the specifics of the plan were never announced and the Revel Casino recently declared bankruptcy, state officials have persisted in their efforts to snatch up various parcels of land on behalf of this shadowy real estate scheme. Among the properties targeted for condemnation is the well-tended family home of Charles Birnbaum, located near the Atlantic City boardwalk.

“The so-called Project consists entirely of high-blown rhetoric and a handful of ‘conceptual’ drawings provided by the Revel Casino,” Birnbaum and his lawyers at the Institute for Justice told the court. “This project fails to satisfy any of the requirements that would allow CRDA to take the Birnbaum Family Home.”

Casinos are known for being sleazy, so naturally they have influence with politicians and judges to cooperate in organized crime projects like stealing a man’s land for personal gain. The Judge simply dismissed the very notion of a constitutional limit on the omnipotent state (which would also be offensive at the Federal level but… New Jersey? Seriously?). Robbery is justified because it will be perpetrated for “the public purpose of promoting tourism and assisting the ailing gaming industry.”

[See also, “U.S. Decline: Ranks #36 for Protecting Private Property.”]

These people are such sleazebags they are not even ashamed anymore of looking like sleazebags. They glory in it.