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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Friday, July 01, 2005


House Makes A Move

The House has apparently decided to at least take some action to oppose the Kelo decision (via Tran Sient's Watch):

House Votes To Undercut High Court On Property
The House measure, which passed 231 to 189, would deny federal funds to any city or state project that used eminent domain to force people to sell their property to make way for a profit-making project such as a hotel or mall. Historically, eminent domain has been used mainly for public purposes such as highways or airports.
Ok, I guess I'm happy because they're trying. This bill, however, begs the question: Are federal funds necessary in post Kelo eminent domain takings?

After all, the idea here is that the city grabs your land at bargain basement price and gives it to a private developer/business. In return, the city gets increased taxes (and maybe some sort of direct payment? I really don't know)...so the question remains: Will it make any difference for a city to "lose any federal funds that would contribute in any way to the project the property would be taken for"? I'm guessing not.

If the scope of this bill were expanded to include all federal funds period (as has been suggested by DeLay and Blunt), then we'd be cookin' with gas. I doubt, however, that such a measure would pass. And even if it did, what do you think its chances would be when the Supreme Court got a shot at it (using their unconstitutionally assumed power of declaring a law unconstitutional. Ironic, no?)

As an aside, I would like to direct your attention to something Nancy Pelosi said:

"When you withhold funds from enforcing a decision of the Supreme Court, you are in fact nullifying a decision of the Supreme Court," she told reporters. "This is in violation of the respect of separation of powers in our Constitution."
Really, Ms. Pelosi? What, exactly, do you mean when you say "nullifying a decision of the Supreme Court"? What in the Court's decision made any positive statement of shall? As far as I know, there was none. Further, there certainly was no statement in the decision that pertained to any obligation of using federal tax dollars to enforce any action taken pursuant to the decision...now was there? No, because that, my dear, would most certainly constitute a breach of the Separation of Powers*.

And, Ms. Pelosi, exactly which "Power" are we trying to "Separate" in this case? Hum? The Court decided (incorrectly, I think) that it is not unconstitutional for the government to take a person's property for private development by a third party. Nothing in that decision suggested that we (the freaking tax payers getting the shaft here in the first place) are required not to only put up with this decision, but also to fund it! Is she freaking crazy?! Hum, yeah. I guess she is...but that's not really news, is it?

For anyone keeping track, here are the tallies from the House vote:

In the roll call on the House amendment, 192 Republicans voted for and 31 against, with 39 Democrats voting for and 157 against. The lone independent, Rep. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), voted against. Maryland and Virginia lawmakers voted with their parties except Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), who voted in favor, and Reps. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) and Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), who voted against.

*This is different than the (in)famous case of Andrew Jackson defying John Marshall over the Indian Removal Act of 1830. In that case Jackson asserted that Marshall had no power to enforce his the Courts decision and actively defied that decision by ordering the Cherokee removed from their reservation. In the Kelo case, the Court (after a night of heavy drinking and extensive experimentation with ecstasy) has said that it is not unconstitutional for the government to take you land to give to a third party. Andrew Jackson took action to countermand the Court's decision. Today, the House is simply saying that federal funds will not subsidize eminent domain takings for the purpose of private development.


Pelosi is a bigger idiot than even I gave her credit for:

Q Could you talk about this decision? What you think of it?
Ms. Pelosi. It is a decision of the Supreme Court. If Congress wants to change it, it will require legislation of a level of a constitutional amendment. So this is almost as if God has spoken. It's an elementary discussion now. They have made the decision.

Q Do you think it is appropriate for municipalities to be able to use eminent domain to take land for economic development?

Ms. Pelosi. The Supreme Court has decided, knowing the particulars of this case, that that was appropriate, and so I would support that.
As Bill points out:

Leftists who don't like the Kelo decision, take note: Your leader in the House lacks the wattage to understand what the House is doing about it (rendering her useless on the issue), and at the same time she takes the word of the Supreme Court to be akin to the tablets Moses brought down from the mountain.

But...does she transfer that fealty to Bush v. Gore? Or Dred Scott?


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