A Legal Blow To Sustainable Development

Official 2007 portrait of U.S. Supreme Court A...

Official 2007 portrait of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  This is so bad!

STRAFFORD, Vt. — LOST amid the Supreme Court’s high-profile decisions on affirmative action, voting rights and same-sex marriage was another ruling that may turn out to have a profound impact on American society.  The court handed down a decision on Tuesday that, in the words of Justice Elena Kagan, will “work a revolution in land-use law.”

While that may sound obscure, the decision in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District will result in long-lasting harm to America’s communities.  That’s because the ruling creates a perverse incentive for municipal governments to reject applications from developers rather than attempt to negotiate project designs that might advance both public and private goals — and it makes it hard for communities to get property owners to pay to mitigate any environmental damage they may cause.

The court’s 5-to-4 decision, with Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. writing for the majority, arose from an order issued by a Florida water management district denying an application by Coy A. Koontz Sr. to fill more than three acres of wetlands in order to build a small shopping center.  The district made clear that it was willing to grant the permit if Mr. Koontz agreed to reduce the size of the development or spend money on any of a variety of wetlands-restoration projects designed to offset the project’s environmental effects.  Because Mr. Koontz declined to pursue any of these options, the district denied the permit.

Read more:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/27/opinion/a-legal-blow-to-sustainable-development.html?src=me&ref=general&_r=0

Strip Search for Traffic Tickets???

U.S. Supreme Court building.

U.S. Supreme Court building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note: This is a big old WTF moment in American history!

In a shocking abdication of its responsibility to uphold Americans’ constitutional freedoms, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that people suspected of minor offenses, such as rolling through a stop light, can be stripped and have their body cavities searched by jail guards.

Writing for the slim 5-4 majority, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said the court should not second-guess prison officials.

But that is exactly why there is a court – to second-guess officials when they ignore constitutional rights and freedoms.

In this case, the court threw away the individual’s basic right not to be punished before being adjudicated.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/inquirer/146170285.html