Logan makes it to the Wall Street Journal
- The only downside is they didn't mention that Logan is a
participant in the Free State Project, and intends to move to New
Hampshire himself. -------Tim Condon
From today's editorial page of The Wall Street Journal:
REVIEW & OUTLOOK
They Paved Paradise
June 30, 2005; Page A12
Last week's Supreme Court ruling that local governments have more or
less unlimited authority to seize private property has had us thinking
of an old Joni Mitchell lyric: "They paved paradise and put up a parking
lot/With a pink hotel, a boutique and a swingin' hot spot."
"The Big Yellow Taxi" ought to be the theme song for the grassroots
movement that is springing up in reaction to the Court's ruling in /Kelo
v. New London/. Many people aren't too familiar with the government's
power of` "eminent domain." But when they learn that five Supreme Court
justices believe New London, Connecticut, was justified in trying to
evict homeowners in order to make way for a private hotel and corporate
offices, the reaction is: How can I keep that from happening to me?
As it happens, the Court's ruling offers a way out, inviting states to
take remedial action. "Nothing in our opinion precludes any State from
placing further restrictions on its exercise of the takings power,"
Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the 5-4 majority.
At least 10 states -- Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine,
Michigan, Montana, South Carolina, Utah and Washington -- already forbid
the use of eminent domain for economic development (while permitting it
for legitimate "public use," such as building a highway). Six states --
Connecticut, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, New York and North Dakota --
expressly allow private property to be taken for private economic
purposes. The rest haven't spoken on the issue.
But just wait. In Connecticut this week the house and senate debated
legislation to forbid the taking of private homes for private economic
development except in the case of blight. The bill failed, but Robert
Ward, the Republican house minority leader and the bill's sponsor, says
he plans to widen it to include takings of all private property and
re-introduce it next month. He already has indications of support from
Democrats who have been hearing from constituents outraged over /Kelo/.
In Washington, Senators John Cornyn (R., Texas) and Bill Nelson (D.,
Florida) introduced legislation this week to bar the feds from using the
power of eminent domain for private economic development as well as
prohibit states from using federal money for that purpose.
Scott Bullock, a lawyer who represented the New London homeowners in the
Supreme Court, says his clients have been "besieged with expressions of
support." Yesterday the Institute for Justice, the public interest law
firm for which Mr. Bullock works, announced a $3 million "Hands Off My
Home" campaign. It will work with local activists to fight government
seizures of private property and pass state laws limiting the use of
Meanwhile, Justice David Souter may soon get an up-close-and-personal
lesson in how /Kelo/ can affect ordinary homeowners. An outraged citizen
announced this week that he is starting the application process to build
a hotel on property owned by the Justice in New Hampshire. The "City of
Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with
a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the
land," Logan Darrow Clements said in a press release. Mr. Clements plans
to call his new development the "Lost Liberty Hotel."
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