We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
In contrast to the Barrister's hysteria and hyperventilation here last evening, Gwynnie would like to offer a more sober point of view. Gwynnie sought help from an old ex-lawyer, who dissected the news reports for her, noting that reading the court's opinions might bring about a different interpretation, because the MSM invariably got everything wrong.
The old lawyer looked at the Fox News report, and will comment on extracts (shown in italics).
He reminds us of the great property takings of the recent century: urban renewal and the interstate highway system, and of the fact that the people who did the construction of those projects made money at them.The Supremes (which her lawyer friend detests) said:
New London could pursue private development under the Fifth Amendment, which allows governments to take private property if the land is for public use, since the project the city has in mind promises to bring more jobs and revenue. Under the ruling, residents still will be entitled to "just compensation" for their homes as provided under the Fifth Amendment. . . . New London has suffered the kind of economic woes afflicting urban areas across the country, with losses of residents and jobs. . . . City officials envision a commercial development including a riverfront hotel, health club and offices that would attract tourists to the Thames riverfront, complementing an adjoining Pfizer Corp. research center and a proposed Coast Guard museum.. . . A city council member who approved the development, said, "I am charged with doing what's best for the 26,000 people that live in New London. That to me was enacting the eminent domain process designed to revitalize a city ... with nowhere to go."
Old lawyer says that maybe this is what city officials should be thinking about for the community good.Strong words are being used against the project:
"It's a little shocking to believe you can lose your home in this country," said resident Bill Von Winkle, who said he would keep fighting the bulldozers in his working-class neighborhood. "I won't be going anywhere. Not my house. This is definitely not the last word."
Yet eminent domain is settled law; the Supremes haven’t expanded anything here.Homes were lost for the interstate highways, IdlewildAirport (a.k.a. to you kidlets as JFK in Jamaica, NY), LincolnCenter, and many other projects that transformed their communities.This is a judgement best made locally, the Supremes are saying.
"Promoting economic development is a traditional and long accepted function of government," Stevens wrote, adding that local officials are better positioned than federal judges to decide what's best for a community. . . .
There is a local alternative:throw the dummies out of office (unless the community thinks they made the right decision). If the local dummies are too corrupt, make state law:
At least eight states — Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, South Carolina and Washington — forbid the use of eminent domain for economic development unless it is to eliminate blight. Other states either expressly allow a taking for private economic purposes or have not spoken clearly to the question. . .
The essence is this, and all us Supreme haters will agree: let local lawmakers make local decisions.If you are on the losing side of a local battle and try to bring the Supremes to bear, you are behaving no better than the liberals – forget legislatures, forget democracy, forget political accountability; I’m losing and I want the highest legal authority in the land to overturn it all.
Gwynnie’s old lawyer friend is sorry for the Kelos, even though they will get paid full fair market value for the home they didn’t want to sell, but local governments owe it to their to their constituencies to make tough decisions for the benefit they see for all.The recourse when they mess it up should be local – and democratic.
It should not be decided in Washington DC.
New Dartmouth Trustee (bravo) Zywicki has yet another view: "Would the Supreme Court feel the same way if Pfizer was building its new office on the Chevy Chase Country Club?..."