Carter v. Bull

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Carter v. Bull is the leading U.S. Supreme Court decision protecting against government taking property from one person to give to another. It held that:

"An Act of the Legislature (for I cannot call it a law) contrary to the great first principles of the social compact, cannot be considered a rightful exercise of legislative authority .... A few instances will suffice to explain what I mean. ... [A] law that takes property from A. and gives it to B: It is against all reason and justice, for a people to entrust a Legislature with such powers; and, therefore, it cannot be presumed that they have done it." Calder v. Bull, 3 U.S. 386, 3 Dallas 386, 1 L. Ed. 648 (1798) (emphasis deleted).

Four Supreme Court Justices quoted this ruling in dissent in the decision of Kelo v. City of New London (2005).