In catching up on my news and weblog reading, I’m glad I was out of the country for the Kelo decision. First Raich further eviscerates the Commerce Clause, now this makes the “public use” requirement for eminent domain utterly meaningless. From what I’ve read so far, Jim Henley puts it best:
Like where you live? Like where you work? Don’t get too attached. You are there on sufferance. I would say, “That’s true whether you rent or own,” but as of today there’s officially no “ownership” to speak of. Any level of government may take any private party’s . . . um, we had a word “property” that we used, but it no longer applies, anyway, whatever you may want to call it, and give it to any other private party for, essentially, any reason whatsoever. The Court says it has to be a “public purpose,” but the ruling implicitly defines “public purpose” in entirely circular fashion: a public purpose is whatever reason a government does things. In combination with Raich we have now, definitively, moved from “sweet land of liberty” to “sweet land of sufferance.”
Finally, there is one cheery note amid the depressing news. Freestater Logan Darrow Clements is applying to use eminent domain to seize a home owned by Justice Souter and build the Lost Liberty Hotel in its place:
The proposed development, called “The Lost Liberty Hotel” will feature the “Just Desserts Café” and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon’s Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged.”
Clements indicated that the hotel must be built on this particular piece of land because it is a unique site being the home of someone largely responsible for destroying property rights for all Americans.
“This is not a prank” said Clements, “The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development.”