Friday, August 26, 2005

Even Stevens . . .

. . . is unhappy (kind of) with the Kelo decision, which he drafted:

It is not every day that a Supreme Court justice calls his own decisions unwise. But with unusual candor, Justice John Paul Stevens did that last week in a speech in which he explored the gap that sometimes lies between a judge's desire and duty.

John Paul Stevens at an American Bar Association meeting this month in Chicago,
where he was critical of the death penalty.
Addressing a bar association meeting in Las Vegas, Justice Stevens dissected several of the recent term's decisions,
including his own majority opinions in two of the term's most prominent cases.

The outcomes were "unwise," he said, but "in each I was convinced that the law
compelled a result that I would have opposed if I were a legislator."

In one, the eminent domain case that became the term's most controversial decision, he said that his majority opinion that upheld the government's "taking" of private homes for a commercial development in New London, Conn., brought about a result "entirely divorced from my judgment concerning the wisdom of the program" that was under constitutional attack.

His own view, Justice Stevens told the Clark County Bar Association, was that "the free play of market forces is more likely to produce acceptable results in the long run than the best-intentioned plans of public officials." But he said that the planned development fit the definition of "public use" that, in his view, the Constitution permitted for the exercise of eminent domain.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Battle in Arizona

Tempe this week will try to convince a judge that the city should be
allowed to take immediate possession of land from 13 property owners to build a
$200 million mall.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

People Still Care

Good news in USA Today:
States across the country are rushing to pass laws to counter the potential impact of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that allows state and local governments to seize homes for private development.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Dean's Dishonesty about Kelo

It's hard to imagine a more dishonest account of why Kelo happened than this one from Democratic Chairman Howard Dean:
After asking the students to donate money to the Democratic National Committee, Dean said "one of the biggest problems in this culture of corruption that the Republicans brought to Washington, is they sold our government to the highest bidder.

"If we want it back, we'll have to buy it back," Dean said.

He also said the president was partly responsible for a recent Supreme Court decision involving eminent domain.

"The president and his right-wing Supreme Court think it is 'okay' to have the government take your house if they feel like putting a hotel where your house is," Dean said, not mentioning that until he nominated John Roberts to the Supreme Court this week, Bush had not appointed anyone to the high court.

Dean's reference to the "right-wing" court was also erroneous. The four justices who dissented in the Kelo vs. New London case included the three most conservative members of the court - Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Associate Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was the fourth dissenter.

The court's liberal coalition of Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer combined with Justice Anthony Kennedy to form the majority opinion, allowing the city of New London, Conn., to use eminent domain to seize private properties for commercial development.

"We think that eminent domain does not belong in the private sector. It is for public use only," Dean said.
If Dean really wants to protect property, he needs to convince his fellow Democrats that this is a wise idea, not falsely blame Republicans for the results of a liberal jurisprudence.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

More Bad News in San Diego


San Diego redevelopment officials are using the threat of taking private property to compel a laundry business in Little Italy to negotiate selling its land to make way for a condominium and retail project.

The board of the Centre City Development Corp., the city's downtown development agency, voted unanimously last week to give the owners of Alsco, a linen and uniform laundry with 150 employees, a month to reply to the demand.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Your outrage matters

The latest in Connecticut:

Democratic leaders of the General Assembly on Monday urged municipal leaders not to use their eminent domain powers until the legislature has time to consider changing the state's laws on seizing property.

The state lawmakers said they want time to thoroughly examine the issue in the wake of last month's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found New London had the authority to takes homes in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood for a private development project.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Response to Kelo

The Washington Times has this report on the legislative response to Kelo.