Doug Smith: Legal Injustice, the sword, but not the scales.

19 May



Doug Smith:  Free State Patriot history and society editor

May 19, 2017


There is an interesting concept used by many, if not most on the Left: Legal.  Now the famous statue of Justice portrays a lady, blindfolded, bearing both a sword, and a set of scales. In the Leftist world, the law is all about the sword, and little to do with the scales. In short, if it is legal, we can do it, whether we should or not. (Al Gore’s “no controlling legal authority”) Of course, if you are a leading Leftist, even if it is illegal, you are likely to get away with it, e.g. Hillary and crew.

I wish I could take credit for this example, but alas! I read it somewhere. Democracy is 2 wolves and a sheep voting to have mutton for lunch. Liberty is an armed sheep protesting the vote.  In the Leftist world, it is not what the law says, but rather what some lawyer, instilled for life on a bench with a black robe, says the law says. By such twisted, opportunistic thinking we get Justices hearing from the spirit of James Madison that although he forgot to write it down, of Course he meant to put in a right to privacy. And building on that, we get such flawed and consequential rulings as Roe v Wade. For if the law says not what it says, but what a judge’s political leaning says it says, why then we have no law and no protection at all.

Case in point: The Kelo decision.

As an illustration of government out of control and vastly incompetent, the case of Kelo vs New London, Ct takes the cake (a subtle aside to other progressive legal swordsmanship: searching out bakers who don’t want to make a cake for a gay wedding.) The city, it seems, wanted to exercise eminent domain under the Takings Clause to take a group of homes.  The Takings Clause, in case you don’t know, is part of the 5th Amendment to the Constitution which says, in brief, that government may take private property for public use, and must pay just compensation, defined as fair market value, for the property thus taken.  For example, if you own a home in Huntington, WV, with a fair market value of $ 15, 000, government may exercise eminent domain and show up with a court order and a check, and tell the 17th St Exit is going to go right through your kitchen.  Time to move. But for public use, such as interstates, court houses, schools, etc., and you must be justly compensated. Got it?

So, in 2004, the city fathers of New London, Ct, came up with a brilliant idea. They would scoop up 90 acres of property in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood, using eminent domain, demolish the well-kept, occupied homes, and give the land to a real estate developer for $ 1 a year, in return for which he would bring businesses, industries, and housing developments to the area which would pay the city more than did the residents. In short, New London decided to by-pass the market, in which case the developer would have to “pay” for the properties whatever the market would bear to persuade the owners to move, and give the owners a say in the transaction. Instead, the city, i.e. the other residents who paid the taxes, would pay the owners the current “fair market value” (not the increased amount that includes overcoming the desire to stay where they were, or the desire to make money from the development) and give it to a developer because they approved of what he proposed to do with the land.

Now, the residents, quite reasonably, argued that taking their homes for a developer was hardly the same as taking them for a court house or school, but instead New London picking one citizen over another. They sued. The Ct Supreme Court, and ultimately, the Roberts Supreme Court agreed with the city in the Kelo decision.  45 states have since passed legislation making it more difficult for municipalities to take private property under Kelo. And, oh here the irony gets rich.

The original developer was not able to put together the financing he said he could (maybe it would have been worthwhile to be sure of that before buying the property), Pfizer backed out and moved their facility, taking 1000 jobs with them, New London moved the Kelo house to a new location in town, and 12 years later the 90 acres are an overgrown, weed infested, empty lot.

Was the Kelo taking legal? Evidently, because a flawed SCOTUS decision remains law until Congress or states take action to change it, or a subsequent decision overturns it.

Was it just? Hardly. The empty lot in New London now sits on the corner of irony and nemesis.


One Response to “Doug Smith: Legal Injustice, the sword, but not the scales.”

  1. Brittius May 20, 2017 at 4:22 am #

    Reblogged this on Brittius.


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