When Government Takes You Hostage

Do property rights count for nothing anymore? This question lies at the heart of my column this week for Hoover’s Defining Ideas

This month, the Supreme Court will hear a case, coming out of Florida, addressing the longstanding conflict between the constitutional protection of property rights and the state’s desire to preserve its pristine wetlands from destruction by real estate development. The current law on this thorny topic, in Florida as elsewhere, gives the state the final authority to decide whether these wetlands should be developed. The state can let the development proceed as planned when its effects on the wetlands are minimal. But whenever the effects are more substantial, the state can refuse to permit the development of the land unless the landowner agrees to “mitigate” any resultant harm to the environment. I explain further over at Defining Ideas