The Federal Supreme Court recently decided to auction off the government's power to seize land to the highest bidder. In one of many absolutely terrible rulings from this past term, the Supreme Court held:
... We granted certiorari to determine whether a city’s decision to take property for the purpose of economic development satisfies the “public use” requirement of the Fifth Amendment.
Two polar propositions are perfectly clear. On the one hand, it has long been accepted that the sovereign may not take the property of A for the sole purpose of transferring it to another private party B, even though A is paid just compensation. On the other hand, it is equally clear that a State may transfer property from one private party to another if future “use by the public” is the purpose of the taking; the condemnation of land for a railroad with common-carrier duties is a familiar example. Neither of these propositions, however, determines the disposition of this case.
As for the first proposition, the City would no doubt be forbidden from taking petitioners’ land for the purpose of conferring a private benefit on a particular private party....
Nor would the City be allowed to take property under the mere pretext of a public purpose, when its actual purpose was to bestow a private benefit. The takings before us, however, would be executed pursuant to a “carefully considered” development plan.
The disposition of this case therefore turns on the question whether the City’s development plan serves a “public purpose.” Without exception, our cases have defined that concept broadly, reflecting our longstanding policy of deference to legislative judgments in this field.
Viewed as a whole, our jurisprudence has recognized that the needs of society have varied between different parts of the Nation, just as they have evolved over time in response to changed circumstances. Our earliest cases in particular embodied a strong theme of federalism, emphasizing the “great respect” that we owe to state legislatures and state courts in discerning local public needs.
For more than a century, our public use jurisprudence has wisely eschewed rigid formulas and intrusive scrutiny in favor of affording legislatures broad latitude in determining what public needs justify the use of the takings power.
Those who govern the City were not confronted with the need to remove blight in the Fort Trumbull area, but their determination that the area was sufficiently distressed to justify a program of economic rejuvenation is entitled to our deference. The City has carefully formulated an economic development plan that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including—but by no means limited to—new jobs and increased tax revenue. As with other exercises in urban planning and development, the City is endeavoring to coordinate a variety of commercial, residential, and recreational uses of land, with the hope that they will form a whole greater than the sum of its parts. To effectuate this plan, the City has invoked a state statute that specifically authorizes the use of eminent domain to promote economic development. Given the comprehensive character of the plan, the thorough deliberation that preceded its adoption, and the limited scope of our review, it is appropriate for us, as it was in Berman, to resolve the challenges of the individual owners, not on a piecemeal basis, but rather in light of the entire plan.
Because that plan unquestionably serves a public purpose, the takings challenged here satisfy the public use requirement of the Fifth Amendment.
With the utmost respect and care to the Court, "What a load of horse biscuits!" The government may take private land and give it to another party so long as there arrives from the taking a public benefit?!?! Sounds like the government can now make people offers they can't refuse. The Supreme Court just legalized stealing. This is what we get from a liberal court. I have been wanting to write an article for some time now about why Rhenquist won't step down. It seems painfully clear, to me at least, that he has no faith in the President, nor do I, and the Republican controlled Senate to replace him with another strict constuctionist (read conservative) justice. Bush can't even get his lower court apointees through... the MINORITY dems seem to have complete control. But that rant is for another time.
The Supreme idiots of the high court may find their decision does not sit as well with them as they may have thought. An enterprizing group decided to try to serve up a little justice of their own. A letter was recently sent stating:
Monday, June 27, 2005
Mr. Chip Meany Code Enforcement Officer Town of Weare, New Hampshire Fax 603-529-4554
Dear Mr. Meany,
I am proposing to build a hotel at 34 Cilley Hill Road in the Town of Weare. I would like to know the process your town has for allowing such a development.
Although this property is owned by an individual, David H. Souter, a recent Supreme Court decision, "Kelo vs. City of New London" clears the way for this land to be taken by the Government of Weare through eminent domain and given to my LLC for the purposes of building a hotel. The justification for such an eminent domain action is that our hotel will better serve the public interest as it will bring in economic development and higher tax revenue to Weare.
As I understand it your town has five people serving on the Board of Selectmen. Therefore, since it will require only three people to vote in favor of the use of eminent domain I am quite confident that this hotel development is a viable project. I am currently seeking investors and hotel plans from an architect. Please let me know the proper steps to follow to proceed in accordance with the law in your town.
From which came forth the following press release seen on Drudge and others:
Press Release For Release Monday, June 27 to New Hampshire media For Release Tuesday, June 28 to all other media
Weare, New Hampshire (PRWEB) Could a hotel be built on the land owned by Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter? A new ruling by the Supreme Court which was supported by Justice Souter himself itself might allow it. A private developer is seeking to use this very law to build a hotel on Souter's land.
Justice Souter's vote in the "Kelo vs. City of New London" decision allows city governments to take land from one private owner and give it to another if the government will generate greater tax revenue or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner.
On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter's home.
Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.
The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."
Clements indicated that the hotel must be built on this particular piece of land because it is a unique site being the home of someone largely responsible for destroying property rights for all Americans.
"This is not a prank" said Clements, "The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development."
Clements' plan is to raise investment capital from wealthy pro-liberty investors and draw up architectural plans. These plans would then be used to raise investment capital for the project. Clements hopes that regular customers of the hotel might include supporters of the Institute For Justice and participants in the Free State Project among others.
The courts are out of control. If something is not done about this soon, we may be forced to have a yearly national referendum to amend and fix the constitution. If these renegade activist judges want to continue expanding the powers of the government and just creating the rules as they go, then at least the people ought to be able to have a say in it. If they want a living and breathing constitution, why not let it breath the air of freedom for the people from unecessary government intrusion into their lives.
Didn't the Dems recently moan and whine about "changing the rules after the game has started?" (after they invented a few new rules of their own) - it seems the Supreme Court wants to change the Constitution even though it has already been implemented. I.e. The Supreme Court, (one part of the government) is changing the rules of the Government after the rules were already set in place. It is unquestionable that justice dictates minor changes to the rules when the rules are unfair, but this power should come in the form of Amendments to the Constitution. This should NOT be solely for the courts, this is a power that should be reserved for the people!!!