The May 28 editorial "Judicial Takings and Givings" demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of the Constitution and the rule of law.

The ruling in Lingle v. Chevron did not "return the court to a path of restraint in the creation of economic rights." Instead, it continued the court on a path of destruction of those rights by ruling that a landlord cannot decide what rent to charge tenants if a state wants to interfere.

From due process to the just-compensation requirement of eminent domain to prohibition against unreasonable seizure, a fair reading of the Constitution and contemporaneous documents demonstrates that most economic rights are what our Founders would have considered natural rights.

Economic rights are not created by politicians and courts but unfortunately often are destroyed by them.

The Supreme Court got this wrong, the unanimous verdict notwithstanding.

Perhaps the justices were afraid of the Pandora's box of challenges to other government attacks on property rights that a ruling for Chevron would have opened. That was a reasonable fear, given the extent to which Uncle Sam and his cousins in each state have eroded the foundation of our free-market system.


Boulder, Colo.

The writer is a fellow at the Heartland Institute in Chicago.