Join 3,430 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


when will the common man learn? This isn't *your* government.
February 5, 2006 8:46 PM   Subscribe

Kelo vs. City of New London (mefi) is still getting those wacky libertarians riled up. They're trying to take the house of one of the justices (david souter) who backed the ruling. They've now got an initiative on the ballot in Souter's home town. The initiative would take souter's home for the purpose of building a hotel and set up the necessary donation funds to make it happen. That may be over now that a motion made by Board of Selectmen queen WALTER BOHLIN (light shirt gray pants) has passed. The motion will add the word "NOT" before each action item. You gotta admit, that's kinda funny. (full disclosure: i have these guys $25)
posted by Tryptophan-5ht (31 comments total)

 
gave* goddamnit.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 8:47 PM on February 5, 2006


I really can't stand these particular protesters. I guess the people of New Hampshire agree.
posted by smackfu at 8:54 PM on February 5, 2006


"We seek to end eminent domain abuse by having those who advocate it, or facilitate it, live under their own laws."

They're going "to end eminent domain abuse" ... by committing it. These idiots call themselves libertarians?
posted by raaka at 9:09 PM on February 5, 2006


They're going "to end eminent domain abuse" ... by committing it.

Yeah, that's the idea. Why the puzzlement?
posted by Bugbread at 9:15 PM on February 5, 2006


oh let them play it out. it's healthy for the judicial system.
posted by destro at 9:21 PM on February 5, 2006


They're going "to end eminent domain abuse" ... by committing it. These idiots call themselves libertarians?

It plays a little better than 'media-whores' and I dunno, the irony is a bit overt for my tastes, but I like to watch.
posted by tweak at 9:31 PM on February 5, 2006


I've read many sites online since Kelo where people are bitching about eminent domain being used at all, even for roads and such. It looks as if countless dorks picked up on the outrage, and feel they have to be outraged too, so they start going off about the injustice of it all, even when the government's doing what it's always done. And no one notices, meanwhile, that the Court more or less encouraged eminent domain reform in its opinion in Kelo. Even the better journalists, so blinded by the outrage (the outrage!) totally miss this.
posted by raysmj at 10:01 PM on February 5, 2006


Why the use of the word 'queen' in the post?
posted by Dagobert at 11:27 PM on February 5, 2006


Why the use of the word 'queen' in the post?

I'm guessing that it's an insult based upon the fact that Bohlin confounded a plot that Tryptophan-5ht was supporting?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:05 AM on February 6, 2006


Also the whole AlexReynolds / Rothko "Drama Queen" fiasco. Would link to it, but the awesome fameout was deleted and I can't find one of the mirrors.
posted by blasdelf at 1:50 AM on February 6, 2006


so they start going off about the injustice of it all, even when the government's doing what it's always done
posted by raysmj at 10:01 PM PST on February 5


yeah no one has a problem with their property being seized by the government for the benefit of private individuals it's just the "hip" thing to be outraged about

thanks for dismissing the concerns of thoughtful millions so flippantly that was rad
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:12 AM on February 6, 2006


Thoughtful millions, sure. There needs to be reform, as the Court more or less suggested, but the whole outrage thing's gone way too far. More thoughtful people would have read the actual opinion in its entirety, and given some thought to what had gone before or to stare decisis, and noted what a difficult decision the judges had to make, etc., even if these thoughtful individuals still ulimately disagreed with the decision.

And there are people going on on message boards and weblogs about how it's an outrage to have your property taken for anything, including government buildings. Flip, my ass.
posted by raysmj at 4:23 AM on February 6, 2006


More thoughtful people would have read the actual opinion in its entirety, and given some thought to what had gone before or to stare decisis, and noted what a difficult decision the judges had to make, etc., even if these thoughtful individuals still ulimately disagreed with the decision.

I've read it in its boring entirety, thought it was not a difficult decision, and think it's some of the worst judicial logic displayed since Dred Scott. I really do. If any decision in recent memory screams liberal, power-grabbing, activist judge, it's this one. I absolutely disagree with the definitions of the majority and have no fucking clue of their thought process; from there the divergence is set.

And there are people going on on message boards and weblogs about how it's an outrage to have your property taken for anything, including government buildings. Flip, my ass.

Well, I don't know where you go. Maybe you visit libertarianutopiawherewehatepavedroads.com/forums or something. But this doesn't mean that they're totally wrong. The power to seize - and let's not pretend it's something else here, because you'll be lucky to get half your land's true value - private property is a huge, monstrous thing that should not be done lightly. I'd say it's behind only conscription as governmental powers go, yet it's often entrusted to the very people that can be trusted least with that power - local businessmen, friends of developers. The only shock is that it's not abused more often.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:37 AM on February 6, 2006


This is why we can't let them take our guns.
posted by Eideteker at 4:47 AM on February 6, 2006


Yet somehow legislators, who are friends of developers and businessmen and local yokels themselves in many cases, managed to pass eminent domain reform laws throughout the country after Kelo.
posted by raysmj at 4:54 AM on February 6, 2006


Yet somehow legislators, who are friends of developers and businessmen and local yokels themselves in many cases, managed to pass eminent domain reform laws throughout the country after Kelo.

That's because it's in the news, thanks in part to people like the anti-eminent domain activists working to have Souter's home seized, and many of the legislators' constituents are getting up in arms about it. If it were up to some of you, it seems, everyone would remain quiet and complacent.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:25 AM on February 6, 2006


Let me see. Because the legislatures of New Hampshire and the United States voted laws stating that tax revenue is a benefit that can be considered in eminent domain seizures, and the board of this town voted to seize a group of properties under this law, it is Souter's fault?

How about going after the guys who made the law, or even better, the guys who used the law? Nope, we're going to poke a stick into Souter's eye.

This is about as useful as invading Argentina in response to Pearl Harbor.
posted by eriko at 5:31 AM on February 6, 2006


"This is about as useful as invading Argentina Iraq in response to Pearl Harbor 9/11."

C'mon eriko, update your derisive statements. Pearl Harbor may have played well in the past, but this is the new millennium. Get with the times.

posted by caution live frogs at 6:26 AM on February 6, 2006


so they start going off about the injustice of it all, even when the government's doing what it's always done

they were never giving land to private companies before Kelo. eminent domain in the US has always been for public interests (as far as I know of).

I understand why Kelo might be necessary in the U.S., since we don't have so much publically owned/operated commercial stuff, but it's still a scary thing. There's is plenty of room for abuse if the judgement of "public good" is not taken seriously enough. Let them argue their case. Hopefully they'll try to build a hotel on Scalia's house too.
posted by destro at 6:51 AM on February 6, 2006


raaka writes "They're going 'to end eminent domain abuse' ... by committing it. These idiots call themselves libertarians?"

Lot's of bad laws get passed when the legislators think it won't affect them. Think the latest bankruptcy changes would have went through if there was much chance of congresspersons declaring bankruptcy. Or the ridiculous drinking age limit in the US if a 1/3rd of the house was 20?
posted by Mitheral at 6:55 AM on February 6, 2006


destro writes "they were never giving land to private companies before Kelo. eminent domain in the US has always been for public interests (as far as I know of)."

There have been a few cases in the past where homes have been seized for parking lots and stadiums which were leased long term to sports teams.
posted by Mitheral at 6:56 AM on February 6, 2006


they were never giving land to private companies before Kelo.

Wrongo.
posted by raysmj at 6:57 AM on February 6, 2006


That's because it's in the news, thanks in part to people like the anti-eminent domain activists working to have Souter's home seized, and many of the legislators' constituents are getting up in arms about it.

Again, the Court noted that, "In affirming the City's authority to take petitioners' properties, we do not minimize the hardship that condemnations may entail, notwithstanding the payment of just compensation. We emphasize that nothing in our opinion precludes any State from placing further restrictions on its exercise of the takings power. Indeed, many States already impose 'public use' requirements that are stricter than the federal baseline. Some of these requirements have been established as a matter of state constitutional law, while others are expressed in state eminent domain statutes that carefully limit the grounds upon which takings may be exercised. As the submissions of the parties and their amici make clear, the necessity and wisdom of using eminent domain to promote economic development are certainly matters of legitimate public debate."

It should be possible to push reform without being totally hysterical and going overboard. The Court gave reform proponents a go-ahead. So the condemnation of Souter is a total asshole move.
posted by raysmj at 7:04 AM on February 6, 2006


Let them argue their case. Hopefully they'll try to build a hotel on Scalia's house too.
posted by destro at 6:51 AM PST on February 6


Uh, Scalia dissented, as did Reinquist, O'Connor, and Thomas.

How about going after the guys who made the law, or even better, the guys who used the law? Nope, we're going to poke a stick into Souter's eye.

Souter et al. asserted that the law was Constitutional; they are also to blame for its use. You don't get a free pass when you uphold an unjust use of state power. Do we thank the Taney court for its jurisprudence or assert correctly that they were racist barbarians?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:27 AM on February 6, 2006


Hypothetical: In Boston in the 1950's hundreds of homes and businesses were taken by ED to build an above ground highway. Now the highway is underground (www.bigdig.com). The land above the highway is being converted to many uses including housing... So if I were a landowner in the '50's whose land was taken by ED would i have a case for reclaiming my land? (either at the ED price or at current market value)

Given that the new use of the land is for the common good, but suppose I am working with a developer who has plans to maximize land usage and tax revenue...
posted by Gungho at 7:30 AM on February 6, 2006


can you quote from that dense legal document what part says they can take for private interest? or should i just link to a lengthy legal document that you'll never read in response?


There have been a few cases in the past where homes have been seized for parking lots and stadiums which were leased long term to sports teams.
this is what you're tlkaing about i imagine. looks like most of the instances aren't exactly "eminent domain", but a variation of it, where a city decalres property "condemned" for the same purpose, but point taken.
posted by destro at 7:31 AM on February 6, 2006


From destro's link: In 1993 the Las Vegas Redevelopment Authority condemned Carol Pappas’ apartment building as a "blight" so a consortium of eight casinos could demolish it to build a parking garage. No one ever surveyed the block on which Carol’s apartment building stood to assess whether it was actually blighted

I think this is one of the cases I was linking of. It was at the time a very egregious and corrupt taking. I could have swore it was residence, I've probably got a couple seperate cases merged in my mind.
posted by Mitheral at 8:23 AM on February 6, 2006


Let them argue their case. Hopefully they'll try to build a hotel on Scalia's house too.
posted by destro at 6:51 AM PST on February 6

Uh, Scalia dissented, as did Reinquist, O'Connor, and Thomas.


i know. but i think Scalia's dissent should have to be argued in the same context really just for shits and giggles though. Scalia is fervently against any use of eminent domain - for public good, necessity..etc..
posted by destro at 8:46 AM on February 6, 2006


Call me one of those damn radicals (I'm a liberal-leaning libertarian going to school in New London City) but I've always hated eminent domain for the following reasons.

1) It artificially drives down the price of the required "just compensation". When the government can take your land without your consent, you're stuck taking whatever they deign to give you for it. Want to negotiate? Too bad. They know you can't leave the bargaining table and are free to lowball you. Not only that, but the very threat of eminent domain gives the state unfair bargaining leverage.

2) It is exclusively the tool of the rich powerful. It's the well connected and politically well heeled who reap the benefits of eminent domain. Got a parking garage to build for your mega-mall? Just force out those damn poor people. Eminent domain isn't used against wealthy folks. This ties into the historical use of eminent domain: the emperor is going to use your village for a waterpark! Adios peasant (anyone else see that movie?).

3) It's fascist. (I'm not Goodwinning this thread, and I'm not comparing eminent domain to the holocaust). The idea that private capitol should be taken for the government benefit or that government power should be used to benefit private capitalists, or both, is a foundational doctrine of fascism. Political theory has advanced a long way since the early development of eminent domain, but the common law system of the USA has yet to catch up.

This particular New London case is especially troubling because it badly confuses the ideas of "state use" and "state interest". Sure, increasing the tax base is in the state's interest, but by definition it is not state use. The state doesn't pay itself taxes on true state use projects.

I thought liberals and democrats were supposed to be the party of the people, standing up to those with power. Act like it, damn it.
posted by Richard Daly at 12:02 PM on February 6, 2006


Honestly? I don't find a problem with eminent domain when it's used for clearly public purposes. Problems with such seizures create huge right-of-way issues on the large scale; without eminent domain, how many expressways, rail development schemes, and water-distribution schemes would be utterly stopped in their tracks by the recalcitrance of one citizen? Forcing the government to negotiate at all times with that one citizen--and allowing that citizen the opportunity to simply be obstinate--is in my opinion going the other way, to putting the individual at all times over the collective good.

That said, I'm against the seizure of private property to create supposedly "public-good" projects benefitting for-profit organizations. If eminent domain were modified to require that any and all direct benefit of repurposing the seized property must only accrue to the community at large from whom the land was taken, I'd be happier.
posted by trigonometry at 3:52 PM on February 6, 2006


raysmj: [...] they start going off about the injustice of it all, even when the government's doing what it's always done.

So unethical behavior in the past excuses unethical behavior in the present and the future. Hmm...

I am intrigued by your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

And no one notices, meanwhile, that the Court more or less encouraged eminent domain reform in its opinion in Kelo.

Yes, I prefer a Supreme Court that acts like a demure lover hiding behind a hand fan. Who needs justice based on the plain language of the Constitution when we can instead be encouraged "more or less".
posted by oncogenesis at 5:07 PM on February 6, 2006


« Older The Steelers were 7-5, then won their final four r...  |  Super Bowl XL Commercials... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments