Supreme Court decision on Eminent Domain is just wrong.

I’m still shaking my head over this one and I bet there are a lot of developers and city managers out there that are doing their best imitation of Mr. Burns while muttering “excellent” under their collective breath. Yeah I know being a liberal I’m supposed to be against the whole idea of property rights, but thats an area where I tend to show my conservative side. I was brought up with the idea that a person’s home is their castle and this decision pretty much destroys that comfortable illusion. Pretty much any half-assed rationale can be used to justify the loss of your property now and there’s not a shit load you’ll be able to do about it unless you’re wealthy yourself; and when was the last time you heard of a wealthy person having to give up land to eminent domain? We should see the results of this boneheaded decision pretty quickly. Over at CNNMoney they’re trying to paint an optimistic picture that retailers would be smart not to abuse eminent domain too much:

Craig Johnson, president of retail consulting group Customer Growth Partners, said that retailers shouldn’t interpret the high court’s decision to be a green light to aggressively expand even into those neighborhoods where a big-box presence is unwelcome.

“Even with the Supreme Court’s decision potentially in their favor, smart retailers would rather go into communities wearing a white hat rather than a black one,” said Johnson.

The appropriate move for companies would be to selectively use eminent domain as a last resort, he said, not as a first course of action. “I think companies have learned a few lessons from Wal-Mart’s public relations struggles,” he said.

Maybe, but then again maybe not. One retail analyst makes it clear she thinks it’s going to become a much more common practice:

“Expanding for big box store is a challenge, especially in the Northeast. Therefore, retailers will have to devise a strategy for using eminent domain,” said Candace Corlett, retail analyst with WSL Strategic nRetail.

And down in Houston, Texas they’re already getting started:

FREEPORT – With Thursday’s Supreme Court decision, Freeport officials instructed attorneys to begin preparing legal documents to seize three pieces of waterfront property along the Old Brazos River from two seafood companies for construction of an $8 million private boat marina.

One of the seafood companies have been in operation since 1946 and generates around $40 million annually, but the marina is “expected to attract” around $60 million in hotels and a couple hundred jobs so the seafood company loses out. I can see how the marina, if it actually attracts the other businesses it’s “expected” to, would be a boon to the city, but taking land from private individual(s) and then turning around and selling it to different private individual(s) doesn’t seem like the sort of thing the Founding Fathers had in mind when they came up with eminent domain in the first place. At least not based on anything I’ve read from them about it. With this decision any developer that can lay claim to big tax benefits for the city can probably expect to find things going their way and I’d hazard to guess it won’t be long before they stop bothering even asking folks if they want to sell their property.

So enjoy that property while you can. If it happens to fall under the gaze of a developer some day who thinks it’d be perfect for his next set of strip malls/condos/office buildings then you may find yourself wondering where it went.

111 thoughts on “Supreme Court decision on Eminent Domain is just wrong.

  1. Your Beta is a little sticky. I couldn’t get the page to load for new comment, then when I stopped loading, it came up only in text. Maybe it has a few kinks to work out, but that’s okay, because I’m into kinky. Back to the subject, does anyone remember when we had a country ruled by laws? Or, does that date me? wink

  2. Back to the subject, does anyone remember when we had a country ruled by laws?

    Oh yes I’m only 15 but I vaguely remember. Those laws were good. Yup. Isn’t living in a capitalist country just great?

  3. The diehard atheists here should love this law – it means that smaller churches that provide no revenue to the city could be seized and turned into a casino!

  4. I know how you feel guys. I’m so shocked, I’m still trying to lower my eyebrows to a relaxed position.

  5. Hello…new here and still reeling from this outrageous ruling.
    If the citizens of this country sit idly by and allow this to stand, it will serve as the final nail in the coffin to any shred of lingering optimism I ever held for our country. If we don’t discover a way to wrestle back the control of this country from the clenches of corrupt political and corporate interests we might as well all just call it a day and zip our lips like the obediant little serfs we are.

  6. And let them win? (as much as I get a hoot out of Canadians) I think not. We’ve been silent and servile too long and it’s part of the reason why we now find ourselves in this uncomfortable spot with our government setting up housekeeping in our backyards.
    Last I checked, ours was still supposed to be a representative government. That we elected officials to represent the will of the people…met any of we the people recently who agrees with this ruling who didn’t have an Inc. tacked on his/her name?

  7. Not to come off as hysterical but…whose skewed sense of reasoning could deem it moral and just to seize the property of one private property owner only to pass it along to another?

    Highways and public works and ‘necessary’ growth is one thing but to evict people to erect a coutry club they probably could never afford to enter seems so patently absurd it would send me into gales of laughter were it not actually occuring. Where am I missing their logic?

  8. WHAT THE FUCK?  It’s like a runaway train!  We are now officially fucked.  You used to be able to retreat to your property to escape THEM, now they can snatch it all away in 30 seconds.  And I thought the IRS was bad about snatching up people’s property and selling it off (and if it was a “mistake” you don’t get shit back).  Now ANY part of the gov’t can.  WHAT THE FUCK?

  9. [W]hose skewed sense of reasoning could deem it moral and just to seize the property of one private property owner only to pass it along to another?

    I have terrible news, hippies—George Bush and the Republican Party are the ones who could have stopped this, if they had been able to appoint a “conservative” (preferably libertarian) justice.  Kelo is as bad as they say it is, and the “liberals” delivered it to us.

  10. I have terrible news, hippies—George Bush and the Republican Party are the ones who could have stopped this, if they had been able to appoint a “conservative

  11. Wow trying to reduce this complex issue to a Repub-Dem issue, sorry wake up.
        The problem goes back to court decisons early this century.  I think in Minnesota, for example, corporations have the same rights as individuals due to court rulings.  Corporate power must be balanced by “we the people”. 
      A corporation is a construct to concentrate and use money, it is not mortal.  Free market does not mean free for all thats why there is an S.E.C.  There is a terrible price to be paid for this judgement, not today or tomorrow but down the road the repercussions are not pretty.
      I am not an American, but this ruling angered me soooooo much when i read it the other day.  This assumes that city council is always “doing the right thing” and that people are not corrupt or corruptable.  Does studying and prcticing law for 40 years rot out common sense?
        I am so annoyed I am not sure…AArgg.. get active and fight this america!

  12. get active and fight this america

    I intend to…somehow…no worries I’ll, hopefully, arrive there as soon as my head stops spinning.

    Some of your thoughts mirrored my first…they couldn’t forsee an inevitable escalation in corruption? It’s an outright invitation. But considering this ruling comes down from the bureaucracy that permits legalized payoffs why should any of us be surprised?

  13. There is an eminent domain case going on in my hometown of Normal, IL where the city council wants to take land from my neighbor to give to hotel developers.  Constitutional considerations mean nothing to that council.  They have as much resistence to the prospect of new tax revenue as a drunk 16-year-old boy would have to free hookers. 

    Nor will corporations show any restraint for the prospect of community goodwill.  They know people have short memories.

    It is very depressing, indeed. We are well on our way to being a corporate-owned country. I’d love to believe one political party or the other could stop it, but the Democrats are desperate for corporate support and BuschCo seems unable to say “no” to anything corporations want.

  14. Bo$$, I have no problems with America being a capitalist society. Overall it’s worked pretty well so I’m not one to complain too much about it. That said you can take a good thing too far.

    Unsomnambulist, I suspect it would be a cold day in hell before any company or government clerk would try to use Eminent Domain on an active church no matter how small. Wal-Mart has been rather aggressive with the practice already and it’s been a PR nightmare for them. Trying to use it on a church would almost certainly bring about legislation to limit the practice.

    Dean, I’m not moving. I’m going to stay here and see if I can’t bring about some change in the direction I think is good for the country. One way to do that is to help spread the word and see if we can’t get enough folks riled up to make a difference.

    Talis, you pretty much summed up my feelings on the use of ED and there are ways we can fight back. One way is to write your representatives and let them know you want laws to protect your property rights. This can be done at the local, state, and national level. You can find your representatives in Congress using the tools at Congress.org in addition to seeing how they’ve voted on recent bills.

    Brendon, I consider myself more or less a liberal with major libertarian leanings, but simply because I do identify with one particular group doesn’t mean I agree with every single thing that group decides is correct nor does it mean I have absolute trust that other members of said group will always decide issues the same way I would. The Supreme Court is made up of human beings and is as fallible as any other human institution as a result. This decision is disappointing, but not entirely surprising.

  15. A key item to remember here for those who have lost hope is that we are a nation of 50 member states.  A handful of states (including Montana which is where I live) has all but prohibited eminent domain for commercial purposes.  Eminent domain has always existed and is exercised differently in each state.  The Supreme Court decision has just ruled it constitutional so there is really no change there (please correct me if I am wrong.)  If you want to fight this law then organize to have your local governments put the leash of eminent domain.

  16. A key item to remember here for those who have lost hope is that we are a nation of 50 member states.

      Normally I would agree with you, John, but the current Administration as well as the recent SCOTUS rulings show that the feds don’t give a damn about States’ Rights and they will trump States’ Rights whenever they feel like it.

  17. Normally I would agree with you, John, but the current Administration as well as the recent SCOTUS rulings show that the feds don’t give a damn about States’ Rights and they will trump States’ Rights whenever they feel like it.

    There is one problem with your observation.  Who do you go to if you want to invoke eminent domain?  You don’t go to the white house to boot someone off a strip on land in Texas, you go to the local government.  In this case the states have the final say on the use of eminent domain. 

    To clarify what I have written above, this supreme court ruling is not really creating a new law.  It is simply ruling an existing practice to be constitutional.  This sets a legal precedent for future challenges on the issue.

  18. Lordklegg got to the nub of it. When the Enlightenment thinkers and our Framers talked about natural rights they were talking about rights for people. Our thinkers (and doers) were looking to the past for models of ways to govern and considering the economic circumstances of their present. The role of large corporations was not something that they had to deal with. I think it was T. Roosevelt who said “people have rights, corporations have privileges.” Well said, but (surviving) corporations have plenty of resources to promote their self interest.

    In Missouri we have DOF’s Normal Illinois all over the place. Don’t even get me started on development in the flood plain AFTER (sorry) 1993. The city of St. Louis has taken to declaring what appear to be perfectly good neighborhoods blighted in order to clear the way for area redevelopment plans. Also, Missouri has something called the TIF (Tax incentive financing). You got it, tax breaks for developers. All of this may eventually work out for the greater good (one of Pop Tarts’ economic trade offs), but it sure doesn’t seem like it.

    Talis, think big, think devious. Lets turn country clubs into strip malls.

    Les’s recommendation is a start. However, the chances are pretty good that you won’t like the feedback you receive. I sure don’t.  Getting things changed seems like a tall order because it is. But, as one example of a place to start, consider that you only have Congressman. If you don’t think he or she is serving your interests, work for a candidate who you believe will do a better job. I suggested Congress because turn out is low in off-year elections and approval ratings are really low. (Articles of impeachment—you bet.) Everyone has a tipping point. Mine was the Freeman report on the unexplained exit poll results. (Note to self: tip a little further.)

  19. A couple questions:

    Who decides the real value, and what recourse do you have to challenge it? My property was worth X, but it’s next to a golf course, so maybe it’s X+Y, and it’s gone up in value lately, so it’s worth even more than that, but then the bizarre SEV calculations say it’s worth about .75X…which figure will be used for an offer for my property by the local government? And do the payouts take into account any tangible and intangible costs such as move costs, loss of old trees and such that may be on the property, etc.

    Also, didn’t the Michigan SC just rule against eminent domain for private business, and does this help those of us who live here?

  20. The thing that gets my attention (and should get some policymakers’ attention as well) is that there are very few people (without an Inc. in their name, as Talis noted) on either side of the ideological divide that approve of this ruling. I took the time to review the entire 58-page decision and found the majority’s reasoning to be tortured, contrived and wholly unconvincing.

    When reading Justice O’Connor’s dissent, I found only insignificant details that I wasn’t fully in agreement with. I even found points in Justice Thomas’ pedantic and tedious dissent to agree with, like this one:

    Allowing the government to take property solely for public purposes is bad enough, but extending the concept of public purpose to encompass any economically beneficial goal guarantees that these losses will fall disproportionately on poor communities. Those communities are not only systematically less likely to put their lands to the highest and best social use, but are also the least politically powerful. If ever there were justification for intrusive judicial review of constitutional provisions that protect “discrete and insular minorities,

  21. In Missouri we have DOF’s Normal Illinois all over the place. Don’t even get me started on development in the flood plain AFTER (sorry) 1993. The city of St. Louis has taken to declaring what appear to be perfectly good neighborhoods blighted in order to clear the way for area redevelopment plans. Also, Missouri has something called the TIF (Tax incentive financing). You got it, tax breaks for developers. All of this may eventually work out for the greater good (one of Pop Tarts’ economic trade offs), but it sure doesn’t seem like it.

    Ah, just like Chicago, where movie theater developments in bad neighborhoods bringing minimum wage jobs get TIF (among other developments replacing small businesses with condos or low wage jobs), and a bicycle shop in one of the 10 wealthiest neighborhoods in the city is somehow in a “blighted” stretch (coincidentally where developers want to put up a condo building).

  22. I grew up in Texas. People there have lots of guns, and a sort of folklore-y inclination to their use in certain cases. In Texas at least, I think there will be, shall we say, “extralegal backpressure” to the wanton use of the power this new decision provides corporations and local governments.

    And I can’t see the thing standing, long-term, no matter what the Supreme Court says. This was literally an insane decision arrived at by a series of small, seemingingly-sane steps. Now that we have the insane, anti-American end product before us, there will be a great series of horror stories, and eventually there will be new local, state, and national laws to stop it.

    The sooner the better, of course.

  23. Thank you Les. I actually have, in the past, availed myself of my congressman’s ear and with good results. Although we do have a few ideological differences he’s, basically, a decent man…and can boast one remarkable attribute—he actually listens to his constituency, even when they contact him individually (all the more remarkable). Each matter I’ve brought to his attention he has responded to in a timely fashion and often via a personal, leisurely phone conversation (followed up by paper, of course). I find this all the more remarkable as he’s a Rep and I am not. In part, because of this, I can also say with some certainty that he holds the distinction of being the only Rep I’ve voted for in good conscience.

    decrepit,

    They have as much resistance to the prospect of new tax revenue as a drunk 16-year-old boy would have to free hookers.

    lol I think you’ve summed this up quite nicely.

    Vern,

    Talis, think big, think devious. Lets turn country clubs into strip malls.

    Thinking big could be a problem…thinking devious? Now you’re talking my language.

    I never thought I’d see the day when I agreed with Clarence Thomas, but there you have it.

    Len, thank you for posting the (very interesting) quote and link.
    I have to say, I’ve been heartened, and not a little surprised, by the degree of bipartisan agreement and outrage over this ruling. These justices may have inadvertently set into motion something that could, finally, rally both sides together a bit and begin to heal that divide. Okay, okay so I’m deluding myself, but what’s a little harmless fantasy?

    Benior, a little bright spot—in a nearby community local government was attempting to declare ED over some generational, family farms. Due to local outcry (wtg ppl) they’ve now, backed down.

    In Texas at least, I think there will be, shall we say, “extralegal backpressure

  24. I think it is very unreal that Ted Kennedy was the swing vote for this… I blew up in my livejournal over the whole thing and I did come to see a positive side to this… Some ass holes in Tacoma, Washington own two broken down buildings in the heart of the city. They want several times more than the buildings are worth and will not budge on the matter. For those that don’t know Tacoma has become the new powerhouse of Wa. State leaving Seattle in its dust. Every building in the down town area has been totally remodeled ripped down or re-built. Now the last remaining buildings will be seized pretty soon here.

    But, what that said, it is still a violation of our most basic fundamental rights. Those ass holes in Tacoma deserve the right to be able to ask for more than their broken down dis-repair / crack house buildings are worth.

  25. Recently my friend and I made a command decision.  We’re no longer going to use the word “liberal” when refering to people who think the government should have the right to redistribute property.  It’s time to call a spade a spade: henceforth these people shall be known as “socialists”.

    Everyone who’s ever ranted about the evils of capitalism and the need for government interference in the free market: kindly shut the fuck up now.  How stupid and naive do you have to be to think that the government is going to protect the poor once property rights have been taken away?  The more power you give government to decide who should own what, the more they will take from the poor and marginalized, and give to the rich and influential.  That is why every socialist country inevitably becomes a totalitarian dictatorship within just a few years.

    I guess it goes to show that some people never learn.  If you had to summarize the entire twentieth century in one sentence, it would be this: “Socialism didn’t work.”  Yet here we still are..  Left-wing nutcases on the supreme court deciding that if we just give government the power to redistribute property, it will use that power judiciously to make everything better.

    The purpose of government is not to “make things better”.  The purpose of government is to safeguard individual rights.  That’s all.  First and foremost, to safeguard property rights.  Everyone who thinks government should be involved in welfare, Social Security, or Medicare: this is the next logical step.  If government can take my property and give it to someone who is poor, think how much more eager they’ll be to take the property of someone powerless and give it to someone powerful.

    My favorite supreme, Clarence Thomas, got it right in his dissent:

    Justice Thomas: William Blackstone wrote that “The law of the land .. postpones even public necessity to the sacred and inviolable rights of private property.”

    If this ruling outrages you, good..  Here’s what you can do about it.  One of (very) few areas where President Bush is a good, solid conservative, is in his support for judges which believe in governmental restraint and the rule of law as defined by the Constitution.  The original Constitution, the one they went to the trouble of writing down.  Not some “living document”.  Call or write your senator and tell him or her to support Bush’s judicial nominees.

  26. Call or write your senator and tell him or her to support Bush’s judicial nominees.

    Sorry Daryl, but that just ain’t gonna happen with me. While I do consider this decision by the Supreme Court to be pretty bad, I have even more problems with most of the judicial nominations Bush has put forward so far so this event isn’t enough to prompt me to blindly start accepting whatever judges Bush thinks would be best for the job. Suddenly packing the bench with Bush’s favored wouldn’t change this decision anyway.

  27. Daryl, I have little confidence that Bush’s judicial nominees (of whom 95% have been confirmed, by the way – all the bitching is about 5% of them) could be trusted to protect the little guy against corporate interests. It is doubtful they will consider the public interest above corporate interests, ever.

    But even if they do offer that protection, who will protect our personal freedoms against them?  They will turn “activist” when the pursuit of happiness involves something the bluenoses think is immoral.

    Lots of government is, like it or not, about interpretation and drawing lines.  One day separates voting age from too young, one dollar separates one tax bracket from another. 

    The placement of the eminent domain line has been clear to everyone for hundreds of years: public use.  That is, stuff owned by the public, like parks, roads, and government buildings.  If the final product will be privately owned, it is private use and then only the market should decide “who owns what.” 

    That is the line they crossed.  This decision isn’t so much socialist or capitalist as it is corporatist.

    Nice try, though.

  28. I must say that it was not my favorite justices, nor President Bush’s that brought you this decision.  This is the danger that I talk about, often sounding like a broken CD.  Namely, when you start deviating from the original meaning of the language of the Constitution, judges get to make the law instead of interpreting it. That is exactly what they did here.

    Justice Thomas, correctly notes in his dissent, that the language used in the Takings Clause in the 5th Amendment is public use, not public welfare.  Yet, the rationale for the majority opinion rests upon reading public use as public welfare.

    There is a distinct advantage to originalist judges, i.e. Scalia, Thomas, Rehnquist.  That advantage is that they will read the Constitution as it is written, leaving it to you and me to decide if we should change what is written there. Not so with the others.  They will use what I call a fairsies approach that favors deference to GOVERNMENT. 

    Now, you have the reality of what I have said before coming home to roost in the way of Kelo.  Do you really want more of that?  When Ted Kennedy gets up to filibuster the nomination for the next Chief Justice, rest assured that he is fighting for the right of government to take your house.

    As to the assurances brought by recourse to local governments, that is fairly hollow.  This decision benefits Wal-Mart and Target. Wal-Mart and Target are much more effective at getting what they want at the local level, than on a national level, with a few exceptions. Influencing petty city officials is easy to do.

    The recourse is at a state level.  Cities derive their existence from the state.  Amending state constitutions and getting state supreme courts to restrict cities is the solution.

  29. Consi, you propose a false dichotomy: either Bush’s judges or more Kelo.  Bush is not about reducing government power, only redirecting it at individuals instead of corporations.

    You are correct about influencing petty city officials.  As Darth Vader said (flipping the lever to encase Han Solo in carbonite), “All too easy.”

    Our political climate is now full of false dichotomies: Support the war or you are unpatriotic,  trash the environment or your are anti-business, and so on.  It seems government now either tastes great, or is less filling.

  30. Damn.. I think this crap is outrageous too, but I’m more immediately pissed about the 2257 changes about adult content. That stupid law (which is obviously a moral attack on anyone in the porn business and not an attempt to stop child porn) means I am never going to make enough money to OWN property much less have it seized! If you haven’t heard about it… 2257 makes changes to record keeping for all people who promote, sell, or produce any material with sexual content. You have to publicly display full records for every person involved in the media including their name, date of birth, all known previous aliases they have ever used, and their address. How worried are they about the safety and privacy of adult workers who now have their address and real name on display for every crazy stalker in the world to see?

  31. As Darth Vader said (flipping the lever to encase Han Solo in carbonite), “All too easy.

  32. Doh!  You’re right.  We the audience see what Vader somehow missed, that Luke was using the mysterious “trampoline of the Force” to fly up out of the chamber just as he said it.  Solo got boxed later.  My bad.

    And my apologies for causing the thread to veer off-topic, too.  Back to the Supreme Court – Darn the Supreme Court!  Darn them all to heck!

  33. Consigliere: There is a distinct advantage to originalist judges, i.e. Scalia, Thomas, Rehnquist.  That advantage is that they will read the Constitution as it is written, leaving it to you and me to decide if we should change what is written there. Not so with the others.

    This is why socialists (ie, liberals) hate these three justices.  Socialists often refer to them as “activist judges”, but in fact it’s the left that likes to invent new federal powers out of whole cloth.  If they actually had to run their wacky policies past the electorate, they would get spanked down.  People would say “Hmmmm… I believe that was tried in the Soviet Union last century and didn’t work out so well.”

    Most government programs instituted since the New Deal are completely unconstitutional, but that doesn’t matter if you have a bunch of expansionist, “living document” judges signing off on things.

    Take Social Security (please, take it).  I’ve read the constitution many times, and I never found a part where it said “Congress shall have the power to take your money and give it back to you at a later date, providing it hasn’t changed its mind in the interim.”  I see a whole list of things there in section 8 of article 1, but nothing you could possibly argue would include Social Security, Medicare, Affirmative Action…

    It does list some valid things which the government can spend tax dollars on: “To establish Post Offices and post Roads… To constitute Tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court… To raise and support Armies… To provide and maintain a Navy…”

    The founders even went to the trouble of putting in the Tenth Amendmant, to make it absolutely clear that the powers of the federal government are only those which they enumerated.  No matter: “Living document” judges just whip out their pencil and start adding what they want (socialism, government control of property) and subtracting what they don’t like (limits on government powers, private ownership of property). 

    The only good thing about this process is reading Scalia’s rather scathing dissents.  He’s one of those wacky “judicial activists” who thinks the court should rule on the constitution as it was written.  He thinks that if people want to change what the constitution says, there’s a perfectly valid way for them to accomplish that.  To people on the left, that makes him Public Enemy Number One.

    The same thing is happening in blue states.  As I mentioned in a previous comment, four judges in my home state of Massachusetts “found” a right for gay people to get married, where no such right had existed before.  Amazing!

    In related news, one state has already drafted a new law making this eminent domain “We want to give your house to MegaCorp.” crap illegal.  The speaker of the house says that’s a nice start, but also wants to ammend the state constitution to make sure.  The state: Republican-controlled Virginia.

  34. Errr… Scalia is not an originalist.  He is antidisestablishmentarian.  Not only that, but he is either a liar or ignorant of facts regarding the influence of Christianity in government.  When he was stating his views, he held as “proof” of Christianity’s influence on American government the motto “In God We Trust” and the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Alliegance.  A little research shows that the coin motto did not appear until 1864 on the two cent piece and it did not appear on paper money until the 1950’s!  As well, it wasn’t until June 8th, 1954 that the phrase “under God” was added to the pledge by an act of Congress.

    In 1954, after a campaign initiated by the Roman Catholic Knights of Columbus, Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan sponsored a bill to amend the pledge to include the words under God, to distinguish the U.S. from the officially atheist Soviet Union, and to remove the appearance of flag and nation worship. The phrase “nation, under God” previously appeared in Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and echoes the Declaration of Independence. On June 8, 1954, Congress adopted this change.

      Originalist, not.

  35. But even if they do offer that protection, who will protect our personal freedoms against them?< They will turn "activist" when the pursuit of happiness involves something the bluenoses think is immoral.

    The conservative trojan horse is unmasked! Our judges will rule in favor of individual rights until we lull you into complacency!

    Lots of government is, like it or not, about interpretation and drawing lines.  One day separates voting age from too young, one dollar separates one tax bracket from another.

    Yup, and lets get some conservatives that draw the line at limiting more and more government power. As Daryl points out, liberals are opposed to this concept because they are socialists at heart and need a strong government capable of theft to implement their socialist policies.

    That is the line they crossed.  This decision isn’t so much socialist or capitalist as it is corporatist.

    You can label it however you want, but the more powerful the government the easier it is for the strong to bully the weak. Conservatives recognize this, socialists do not.

  36. Justin, I think you’re deliberately missing my point.  The so-called “conservatives” seem intent on furthering government oversight of individuals’ private lives in the name of morality.

    Corporations (especially multinationals) now have power once found only in governments.  I don’t think that condition existed when the constitution was framed.  Can you suggest an alternative to government power to hold those corporations in check?

    But governments also need to be kept pointed in the right direction.  What you seem to want is to tie the steering wheel, put a stick on the throttle, and let ‘er rip.  “That oughta do it!

  37. Oh Darryl, you can call me a socialist if you want to, but I get to call you an amoral bloodsucking dumb-as-a-post anti-constitutionalist neocon shill. Of course I will have to take a deep breath cause them there is a whole lot a words!

    So occasionally a republican or two get it right for a change, wow, I guess that means their kung fu is the best. I guess everything crumbles to dust before the mighty power of correct and proper republican thinking. I am convinced!

    Tomorrow I’m off for a prefrontal, tune my radio to Limbaugh then break off the knobs, and hit the local evangelical church to be born again as a capitalist! Hallelujah, I’m saved!

    Butthole. shock

  38. Corporations are also the ones who want to LICENSE a product to you.  That means you don’t really own shit, but instead are loaned something that you many only use in the corporately proscribed way, with all attendant dues and fees. 

    Daryl said: That is why every socialist country inevitably becomes a totalitarian dictatorship within just a few years.

    So how many years did it take France to become a totalitarian dictatorship?

    Les said:Yeah I know being a liberal I’m supposed to be against the whole idea of property rights

    Only if you’re communist.  Private property is compatible with socialism.

  39. Call or write your senator and tell him or her to support Bush’s judicial nominees.

    If [liberals] actually had to run their wacky policies past the electorate, they would get spanked down.  People would say “Hmmmm… I believe that was tried in the Soviet Union last century and didn’t work out so well.

  40. Ragman:

    You are correct to point out that Darryl has it wrong.  Socialism does not lead inevitably towards a totalitarian state. 

    It would be correct to say that socialism leads to a pretty crappy economy.  http://eurota.blogspot.com/2005/06/eu-economies-benchmark-year.html

    But that is offpoint really, as is the little tirade about licensing, which if you don’t like it, don’t contract as a licensee. 

    DOF:

    No false anything in my prior post.  If one examines the Bush nominees one will find that they would not have voted with majority in Kelo.  If you look at those appointed to the court by the Dems they would and DID vote to diminish property rights. They did so because they believe in BIG government.

    They, Bush’s nominees leave a bad taste in your mouth because most of them will not find that homosexuals are a protected class.  Yet, the place to fight the battle over homosexuality is not in the courthouse.  It is in the statehouse.  Win at the statehouse and these same judges will apply the law as written.

    Finally, to reiterate, if you are going to compare approval rates for judges, compare apples to apples.  Do you know what the approval rate for Clinton’s CIRCUIT COURT nominees were when the Dems controlled the White House and the Senate v. the approval rate for Bush’s CIRCUIT COURT nominees?  That would be the appropriate comparison since the fight was over CIRCUIT COURT nominees not District Court nominees.

    Warbi:

    Please set forth Scalia’s remarks in full before deconstructing them.  That way we all can judge them.  I fear that like your rant about how bad the nominees were, that it is based on something you have read that was written by someone else who may or may not have the actual facts. Look forward to seeing this.

  41. Wow, so much to read for monday coffee.

      OK, Socialism and Liberal are not the same word for starters and they do not have the same meaning.

    Socialism N. Political system which advocates public ownership as a means of production.

    Liberal a. Political party favoring democratic reforms and individual freedom.

      Now Socialism as a method of running your whole economy is stupid.  That being said leaving everything to Capitalism isn’t all that bright either.  If the Capitalist had their way, there would be no middle class and it would be just as destructive to any economy.  Find balance. The founding fathers of any mondern nation had NO IDEA how complicated the world would become. thus ANY constitution is/are a guide and rules to help us.  Confusing this judgement as anything other than pro-corporate is a mistake. 
     
      Trying to reduce this one to Repub/Dem Conserv/Lib is a bad plan this is about Money.  This is a rich-poor issue and if you confuse it any other way its dangerous.  If I was a poor republican I would fear this ruling as much as if I was a poor Dem.

      I like to try to think the best of my fellow citizens but city hall is more likely to interfere in your life than the Federal government day-to-day.  The minority opinion here is based more in realism, whereas the Majority opinion appears to be based on “In a perfect world city hall looks out for the little guy.”
    I think we all know better than that.

  42. Consi:

    Scalia also noted that Congress has always employed chaplains, that every military service uses them and that an inscription on the nation’s coins and currency reads “In God We Trust.”

      This was from his “Religious Freedom Day” Speech given in Fredricksburg, PA in January 2003.
    [1]

      I remembered this because at the time it came out, I was annoyed enough tot try to find an e-mail address for the Supreme Court.  I thought it laughable that he would try to use the coins motto to imply that “tradition” would have the government and religion twined together- especially since 1864 was almost 100 years after the nation was formed.

      From the same source:

    Scalia, whose son Paul is a priest at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Spotsylvania County, said the nation’s founding fathers acknowledged a sovereign God in establishing the government—as did the men who framed Virginia’s statute in Fredericksburg in 1777. That statute served as the model for the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

      From religioustolerance.org:

    How the first amendment was written:
    In the spring of 1778, the Constitutional Convention was held in Philadelphia, PA. They resolved three main religious controversies. They:

    Decided that there would be no religious test, oath or other requirement for any federal elected office
    Allowed Quakers and others to affirm (rather than swear) their oaths of office
    Refrained from recognizing the religion of Christianity, or one of its denominations, as an established, state church.

    But there was no specific guarantee of religious freedom.

    Jefferson was pleased with the constitution, but felt it was incomplete. He pushed for legislation that would guarantee individual rights, including what he felt was the prime guarantee: freedom of and from religion. Madison promised to promote such a bill, in order to gain support for the ratification of the constitution by the State of Virginia. In 1789, the first of ten amendments were written to the constitution; they have since been known as the Bill of Rights.

      And we all “know” how Christian Jefferson, Franklin, and Washington were!  lol

    Deists have a great example of toleration, perseverance, and integrity in the person of fellow Deist George Washington.

    Christian preachers who ardently wanted Washington to be portrayed as one of them have made up many stories of George Washington’s strong Christian beliefs. One of the primary purveyors of these propaganda pieces was Mason Locke Weems, a Christian preacher who came up with the fable of George Washington and the cherry tree. He also feverishly promoted the myth of George Washington and Christianity.

    Washington, like many people in colonial America, belonged to the Anglican church and was a vestryman in it. But in early America, particularly in pre-revolutionary America, you had to belong to the dominant church if you wanted to have influence in society, as is illustrated by the following taken from Old Chruches, Ministers and Families of Virginia, by Bishop William Meade, I, p 191. “Even Mr. Jefferson, and George Wythe, who did not conceal their disbelief in Christianity, took their parts in the duties of vestrymen, the one at Williamsburg, the other at Albermarle; for they wished to be men of influence.”

    [2]

  43. Lordllegg, once again to the heart of things. I was about to pull out my own dictionary this morning and try some irony, but it wouldn’t have come off.

    A nit on DOF’s observation about corporate power in colonial times. The Boston Tea Party was all about The East India Company. Those guys ran India and, in a sense, had their own Navy.

    A thought for the Constitutional literalists. You can’t possibly put everything in a governing document.  This cuts both ways. We can all get up in arms about an amendment proposed by the other guys. In later years Jefferson came to believe that each generation* could best determine how to govern itself.  Constitutional convention anyone?

    * He read mortality tables to come up with his “every twenty years”—what an incredible polymath.

  44. Corporations (especially multinationals) now have power once found only in governments.  I don’t think that condition existed when the constitution was framed.  Can you suggest an alternative to government power to hold those corporations in check?

    Easy – lack of government power. If the government does not have the power to steal your home, then corporations can’t use the government to steal your home.

  45. Socialism N. Political system which advocates public ownership as a means of production.

    Liberal a. Political party favoring democratic reforms and individual freedom.

    That is the classic definition of the word liberal. By that definition I am also a liberal.

    That being said leaving everything to Capitalism isn’t all that bright either.  If the Capitalist had their way, there would be no middle class and it would be just as destructive to any economy.

    Wrong. If the liberals (modern definition) have their way then there will be no middle class. That is because eminent domain is just the tip of the iceberg. From everything from zoning laws, licensing, tax structure and deductions, and government regulation over industry, greedy corporations can use the power of the government to run roughshod over their competition.

    here is an article about licensing agencies shut down an inner city hair braiding business. And here is another example of how New York denies 98% of new van licenses, putting entrepeneurs out of business.

    The natural solution is to dismantle that part of the government. Then the little guy will have a chance again because the only way the big guy can beat him is by producing a superior product for a lower cost. Liberals (modern definition) try to be the friend of the little guy, but with friends like liberals who needs enemies!

  46. …Apparently Justin has forgotten that big business has its own anti-competitive streak.  History is full of examples where existing companies opposed the introduction of competition, sometimes violently.  The solution is not to dismantle government, but to make it more responsive to competitive interests.  This is an evolving understanding.

  47. .Apparently Justin has forgotten that big business has its own anti-competitive streak.  History is full of examples where existing companies opposed the introduction of competition, sometimes violently.

    To quote Thomas Jefferson: “A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”

    Punishing violence is one of the few areas where the government should get involved. As many posters on this blog often appreciate when it does not involve economics, the foundation of a free society is protection of consensual and non-violent behavior.

    The only way for a company to prevent competition without government involvement is low prices. Standard Oil became a rare private monopoly (most monopolies are granted by the government) by lowering the cost of kerosene from 30 cents to 6 cents. Their competitors simply could not keep up with their technology or superior distribution. But by the time the government interfered their competitors had actually caught up and Standard Oil had slipped to 60% market share. Standard Oil simply did not have the power to stop new competitors except for the ability to produce a better product at a lower price. Why didn’t Standard Oil “force” their competitors out of business?

    here is some further reading on the subject.

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