Thursday, August 02, 2007


Rights and Rights

I ran across a link to the Cato Institute on Daily Kos, in which Cato is marketing a book called David's Hammer, by Clint Bolick. Douglas Kmiec of Pepperdine University submitted a short review of the book that intrigued me. Here it is:

“Clint Bolick is one of America’s greatest champions of freedom. In this accessible and timely book, he challenges the political left and right to set aside time-worn and ill-defined complaints of “judicial activism.” His writing is a call to principled reciprocity: those who readily embrace speech and associational rights ought not begrudge like recognition of property rights or our innate desire to pursue a lawful occupation. At a time when Supreme Court Justices are mounting national platforms to defend judicial independence, Bolick reminds those privileged to serve in the third branch that judges are given independence for a reason—and it is neither unthinking deference to legislative majority nor the imposition of personal will.”

What intrigued me about the review was the request that those of us who value freedom of speech should "not begrudge like recognition of property rights...." I know that some of us who treasure the First Amendment right to freedom of speech tend to forget that there are limits on freedom of speech. The right is not absolute. The classic example is that one does not have the right to shout "fire" in a crowded theater. Professor Kmiec is a conservative but also a reasonable man. I am sure that he recognizes that a property right or a right of intellectual property is also not absolute. I own my house; my wife and I paid off the mortgage thirteen years ago. However, I do not have the right to set up a slaughter house in my back yard, nor do I have the right to operate a jet aircraft engine at full power which generates a sound level of 160 decibels. My neighbors have the right not to be annoyed or harmed by what I choose to do with my property.

I wonder whether our new conservative Supreme Court will recognize sensible and logical limits on the use of provate property.

Labels: , , , ,

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?