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Supreme Court Justice To
Get 'Taste Of His Own

Eminent Domain Medicine'



By Greg Szymanski
1-23-6
East Coast activists want to build the 'Lost Liberty Inn' on the property of U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter. The measure is on the March 14 ballot in the small town of Weare NH, where Souter resides. This Sunday activists staged rally in Weare to 'turn the eminent domain tables' on Souter. One of the more amusing stories making the rounds is how a little known activist group is trying to "turn the tables" on a Supreme Court Justice who corruptly ruled on extending government's power to take away private land under eminent domain. U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter is getting a "taste of his own medicine" from a New Hampshire group called the Committee for the Preservation of Natural Rights and another California human rights group, both trying to make a loud public statement by getting Souter's home in the small town of Weare, New Hampshire, seized under eminent domain. Both activist groups have been angered and are leading the charge against a recent high court ruling, making it virtually "a walk in the park" for local, state and federal entities tt to seize people's homes and property for economic development under what has become a watered down version of the eminent domain laws. Keith La Casse, one of the leaders of the New Hampshire group, said Sunday the wheels are in motion for the city of Weare to vote on the matter in a March 14 election. "We went to Weare today and decided to march outside of Souter's home in order to draw attention on the inequities of the recent eminent domain ruling," La Casse told the Arctic Beacon as the group was beginning its protest march Sunday in Souter's home town of Weare, population 8,500. La Casse said more than enough of the 25 signatures needed to bring the matter on the March ballot were gathered in order to make way for the building of a hotel on Souter's property, appropriately called "The Lost Liberty Inn." Although organizers admitted taking Souter's is an uphill battle, one of the main reason for pursuing the hotel idea, using his property, is to draw national attention to the unfairness of the recent eminent domain ruling. Prior to the recent Supreme court ruling, eminent domain was usually considered " a last resort' where people's interests and property took major precedent over state interests. Now, under the ruling, propriety interests in land essentially shifts from private ownership to "public takeover," as the high court relaxed many of the legal protections against government land grabs. A perfect example of the indiscriminant use of eminent domain is now taking place in New Orleans, as a federal judge last week cleared the way for the bulldozing of 44,000 homes in the 9 th Ward where many homes are still salvageable by using eminent domain. Under the judge's corrupt ruling, he is allowing the city to bulldoze down privately strictly with "notice to residents" but without due process or a proper hearing in order to determine if many of the displaced citizens object to the city's land grab. "We are losing the battle and need help as many good homes are being destroyed and property seized," said Brandon Darby in a conversation from New Orleans. "There is so much corruption down here. Many homes are simply being stolen away as people have been purposely kept out of the city or when they return, authorities are making them jump through hoops." While Darby is fighting the real street battle, back in New Hampshire the Natural Rights activists are trying to win the public relations battle. Besides LaCasse, Logan Clements of California has also been instrumental in bringing the unfairness of the Supreme Court ruling before the eyes of America. "All we're trying to do is put an end to eminent domain abuse," Clements said, adding Souter deserves a taste of his own medicine. "Perhaps by having those who advocate or facilitate the unfairness feel what it's really like to be threatened with losing your property, then maybe they will understand why it needs to end." La Casse and Clements said they have never personally spoken to Souter, but Kathy Arberg, a Supreme Court spokeswoman, issued a statement that Souter was not commenting on the petition filed by the group and the Lost Liberty Hotel idea. Clements added the Sunday rally in Weare, a protest starting in the city and then making its way to Souter's 200-year-old brown renovated farmhouse, is being held in the spirit of the famous Pine Tree Riot which took place in 1771. During that year, feisty Weare colonists physically overtook officials appointed by King George III who fined them for longing white pines without government approval. The petition to take Souter's home goes to a vote March 14, but La Casse and Clements said they were still gathering more signatutes on Sunday, gathering 10 in less than an hour with only one resident approached refusing to sigh. Activists were also distributing copies during the protest of the Supreme Court's corrupt eminent domain ruling, titled Kelo v. City of New London, the case which lowered the legal standards concerning government land grabs. The court ruled in the Kelo case that the city could seize homeowners' property to develop a hotel, convention center, office space and condominiums next to Pfizer Inc.'s new research headquarters. In the case, the city successfully argued that tax revenues and new jobs from the development would benefit the public. The Pfizer complex was built, but seven homeowners challenged the rest of the development in court. The Supreme Court's ruling against them prompted many states, including New Hampshire, to examine their eminent domain laws. The Sunday rally not only brought out activists, but also several residents who lost their property in the Kelo case were on hand to voice their support for the Lost Liberty Hotel idea. Also at the rally, supporting the city, State Rep. Neal Kurk of Weare, who is also sponsoring two pieces of eminent domain legislation in New Hampshire, said the group's idea is preposterous and will be soundly defeated. "You don't go after a judge personally because you disagree with his judgments. Most people see this as an act of revenge and an improper attack on the judicial system," said Kurk, who added that the protestors will not be allowed to enter Souter's property located on the outskirts of town." For more informative articles, go to www.arcticbeacon.com
 

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RESIDENT ASSHOLE
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Sounds good to me.

Why is it that you pay extrodinary amounts of money on land and then pay for it again in taxes over 20 years? If you have to keep buying your land continualy, shouldnt you get to keep it?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If you pay property taxes, then you really don't own the land or home. The entity taxing you on it does. If you fail to pay your rent (taxes) you are then evicted from the property of the landlord. Property taxes is the first step in the assumption that you really don't own your property, which leads to things like Eminent Domain. They've weaseled it in by convincing the public that it is in their own interest, that Eminent Domain will only be used to benefit the public, like parks and stuff. Well, that's changed now. Now they can take your property and give it to developers for their own personal enrichment. When you let things like property taxes in the door, you pretty much have given up your rights to ownership.
 

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The solution is in your hands...it is called the Ballot...If you don't like what your government is doing, change it...
 

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RESIDENT ASSHOLE
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or bunker in your home and make them take you out
 

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Discussion Starter #6
bumblebee said:
The solution is in your hands...it is called the Ballot...If you don't like what your government is doing, change it...
I tried voting on their Diebold programmable voting machines with no paper trail and it doesn't work.
 

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bumblebee said:
The solution is in your hands...it is called the Ballot...If you don't like what your government is doing, change it...
:eek:nfloor No the solution is in my closet. its called a gun and revolution. Voting does not and will not work if the voting is corrupt.
 

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Sibling said:
:eek:nfloor No the solution is in my closet. its called a gun and revolution. Voting does not and will not work if the voting is corrupt.
Which is probably is. Too bad the majority of the public dismisses any mention of corruption as a conspiracy theory and does nothing about it.

One of the reasons I need to buy a gun or something.
 

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I like how that state rep. was defending the judge and saying how you don't go after a judge personally for his rulings. F*ck him. A judge is given the power to enforce their personal beliefs in rulings.You want to abuse it, now give us your land.

Fair and equitable compensation is one thing. Weaseling people out of homes is another.

my $.02
 

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bumblebee said:
The solution is in your hands...it is called the Ballot...If you don't like what your government is doing, change it...
Eminent domain is permissible per the Constitution...although I premise that statement by saying that it has gotten WAY out of hand. You'd have to get enough folks in the House/Senate to support an amendment to the Constitution repealing it. Not likely. The only other method is to get the Supreme Court to overturn it's initial rulings on eminent domain (dating back to Berman v. Parker [1954]). But as the practice of "stare decisis" still rules the court system, I again doubt you will see a significant change in the near future. The litmus test used to determine the validity of a governmental seizure has gotten so distorted that it's very difficult to defend against it. With the recent ruling on Kelo v. New London [2005], "acquisitions" are pretty much up to the town council and whoever the corporate/private donor is.

The Institute for Justice (google it if interested) has some very interesting papers on the concept and defense against it.
 

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RESIDENT ASSHOLE
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Sounds like a few of you are on my page.........

Be sure to get your guns before they try to take that away from you as well.
 

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You guys do realize that what the Supreme's said is that the Constitution doesn't allow the Feds to regulate a state or locals definition of Eminent Domain right? While the result is despicable, the interpretation was reasonable and probably accurate.

You also know, that Congress could have fixed the problem by now with legislation, right? But that they haven't? Right?

This decision is a perfect example of why "Strict Constructionism" is flawed. The Constitution simply didn't address this potential problem correctly.
 

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jim schmidt said:
This decision is a perfect example of why "Strict Constructionism" is flawed. The Constitution simply didn't address this potential problem correctly.
Hey Jim,

I'm not familiar with "Strict Constructionism." A little background for the sake of understanding your argument? Thanks. :)
 

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Its a theory that argues that judicial interpretation should only rely on the exact words in a law (or the Constitution) rather than looking also at legislative intent or the legislative record. Thomas and Scalia are big proponents of this theory although they've never explained how it squares with the abolition of slavery.
 

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jim schmidt said:
You guys do realize that what the Supreme's said is that the Constitution doesn't allow the Feds to regulate a state or locals definition of Eminent Domain right? While the result is despicable, the interpretation was reasonable and probably accurate.

You also know, that Congress could have fixed the problem by now with legislation, right? But that they haven't? Right?

This decision is a perfect example of why "Strict Constructionism" is flawed. The Constitution simply didn't address this potential problem correctly.
I've got to disagree here. If you read the Constitution, you will see that Eminent Domain is permitted by the government as long as it passes two tests: 1) The land may only be taken if it is deemed to provide a public benefit & 2) Just compensation must be provided to the party the land is seized from. Of the two tests, #2 is probably disputed less than #1. The government will generally offer market value or slightly higher depending on where the property is located, the condition, etc. Sometimes that isn't true however.

The first test however is where the debate of strict constructionist vs. loose constructionist interpretation of the law comes in. Initially, at least from the Framers reference in the 1780s, public benefit would have applied to land taken for public projects such as the generation of public roadways, parks, etc., from which the ENTIRE public may benefit. In most cases, this was not trodden upon too heavily until the 1950s. In my previous post, I referenced the case of Berman v. Parker [1954]. Unless I'm getting my cases mixed, the Supreme Court ruling on this case moved away from the old interpretation of public benefit, and moved towards a looser interpretation which included the goal of the elimination of "urban blight" as a public benefit. (The case involved a dept. store in DC IMO) So, the concept of urban blight was added to the definition of public benefit in 1954. In 1984, Hawaii Housing Authority v. Midkiff authorized the seizure of land from private owners and the redistribution of it at market value to existing renters (the renters, unable to purchase land from the existing small pool of owners, appealed to the gov't to seize the land, then sell it back to them at market value). The Supreme Court's authorization of land seizure in this case furthered the looser interpretation of the law. There were other cases in ensuing years which enabled local governments to take land from private owners for the purpose of development. The latest ruling in Kelo v. New London [2005] was the straw that broke the camel's back. It basically permits governments to seize land from private owners and then resell it to private corporations for development, as long as public benefit (e.g. greater tax roles, higher employment rates, etc.) can be proven.

Had we remained with a strict constructionist view of the Constitution, the case in 1954 would most likely have been decided differently. The primary reason the current rulings are the way that they are is the concept of "stare decisis". What this basically means is that the interpretation of the constitutionality of current laws references prior rulings as the basis for the justification of constitutionality. In most cases, federal judges try not to overturn prior Court opinions. Thus, had a strict constructionist view been in effect in 1954, we would potentially see different rulings in todays courts.
 

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Triple_Z said:
If you read the Constitution, you will see that Eminent Domain is permitted by the government as long as it passes two tests: 1) The land may only be taken if it is deemed to provide a public benefit & 2) Just compensation must be provided to the party the land is seized from.
You can correct me if I'm misinformed, but isn't the Constitution addressing eminent domain where the federal government is concerned. Regardless, even your description uses the word "government".

Not being a legal scholar, I would have to say a couple of things:

First yes, the recent ruling was the Supreme Court failing to intervene in the States provisions for eminent domain. I agree with Jim that this is probably the "correct" decision from the perspective of limits on power of the federal government.

However, I also believe that the states are in error if they extend the definition of "public good" to the point where ANY stretch of community improvement, including private for-profit development that increases the tax base, or worse for-profit owned and operated by the state, means they can literally take your property at will.

"Just compensation" is also a matter of some debate. Perhaps when I get a chance I will discuss this with family that were closely involved when the Interstate came through. I recall quite a bit of conversation about this issue when thousand of acres were being acquired and farms being split with miles to find a bridge to get to the property on the other side.
 

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I should remind that we all agree that the government shouldn't take your land for its own financial profit. We need not to forget our agreement on this as we disagree on the merits or details of the ruling.

The issue of state decisis as it relates to this ruling is not about whether states have the right to eminent domain, that's not in dispute. It's whether or not states have the right to define it as they choose. A Strict Constructionist reading of the Constitution says they do, because no power is granted to the Feds to define it. A Living Document interpretation might say they don't if it is believed that the framers either didn't anticipate this level of greed or didn't intend for citizens to be so abridged.

There is a strong case to be made for the latter, but not if you are a Strict Constructionist. I realize this idea is a big gob to swallow for many.
 

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BusaDave said:
However, I also believe that the states are in error if they extend the definition of "public good" to the point where ANY stretch of community improvement, including private for-profit development that increases the tax base, or worse for-profit owned and operated by the state, means they can literally take your property at will.
I'll agree there, but "public good" has been defined in this manner, and unfortunately it's here to stay. Obviously the case involving Pfizer in New London was one. The other that comes to mind is Poletown v. Detroit. For this one, they basically demolished a section of town to allow GM to build a plant (despite alternative locations). The usual threat of mass unemployment if GM left was on the table, so Detroit made the grab, and Michigan upheld it.

And "just compensation" really depends on the area. In some areas, market value is what the property is worth (Janesville, WI for instance). In others like DC, your market value is probably nowhere near what you could get for a house on the open market.

In any case, the premise of my argument is that despite my disagreement with the concept of eminent domain, I don't see it disappearing. And the exact verbage of the Constitution is unfortunately very vague in this matter. It says what it does, and leaves a lot of room open for interpretation.

Hey, this whole argument makes me realize I may have actually retained something from Business Law....proof that there is hope for me yet. :)
 

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Triple_Z said:
I'll agree there, but "public good" has been defined in this manner, and unfortunately it's here to stay. Obviously the case involving Pfizer in New London was one. The other that comes to mind is Poletown v. Detroit. For this one, they basically demolished a section of town to allow GM to build a plant (despite alternative locations). The usual threat of mass unemployment if GM left was on the table, so Detroit made the grab, and Michigan upheld it.

And "just compensation" really depends on the area. In some areas, market value is what the property is worth (Janesville, WI for instance). In others like DC, your market value is probably nowhere near what you could get for a house on the open market.
In theory "just compensation" assumes prevailing market prices, in practice, the local polticians and private developers will team up to both profit on the land or house grab at the expense of the owner. Under conditions of Eminent Domain, the situation is such that the politicians have incentive to grab the property at a mere fraction of its value, and then profit by selling it on markup to a another private developer. The government in this case becomes the entire market, there is no open bidding process as would be the case if there was in fact "just compensation". Hence a private developer, instead of approaching you directly and negotiating a price with you for the land he wants to buy, will find it more to his economic benefit to have the government seize it from you on his behalf and then sell it to him for less than what he would pay if he had to negotiate with you directly. This kind of thing goes on all the time, it is happening on a mass scale in New Orleans right now.

Also I am curious where it states in the Constitution that Eminent Domain is allowed. Not disputing it is there, but I haven't checked. Maybe you can outline it for us.
 
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