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.


Doug Smith: Remember the Law?

8 Jul

doug smith.jpg

 Doug Smith: Author, historian and lead contributor to Free State Patriot



Remember the law?

Our founders did. They saw protections of the law, and concomitant penalties of force as a means of protecting the infant United States from arbitrary use of power. Or, as Jefferson put it, Tyranny.

Make no mistake, we have experienced tyranny multiple times in recent years, though never quite as blatantly as when the Director of the FBI, days after the AG meets with the powerful husband of the target of a criminal probe, outlines a clear case for her criminal behavior, then declines to prosecute it.

Some folks like tyranny.   If the tyrant props up your business while attacking your competitor, what’s not to love? If the tyrant makes sure everyone buys your book, while banning your nearest competitor, what’s not to love?

When the Chief Justice of SCOTUS bends himself and the language into pretzels to find a way to say the President and Congress didn’t do what they did, which would be wrong, but did, what they didn’t do, which is ok, so we’ll call it what they didn’t do, and go right on doing what they did, people who love the act love the ruling. People who love the law shudder.

If the only impediment to government abuse of its subjects is the outrage of a handful of lifetime appointees, no one needs to know, or obey the law. Just find out what the judges like. When the law is no protection, we hope for a Knight, a Defender of the Weak. But that system was as flawed as the men who wore the shining, or rusty armor, and as safe as his whim while he held the only sword.

When all men agree to subject themselves, and their leaders, to a set of laws, they can live in the assurance of a mostly fair and equitable set of rules to play by. When those leaders toss out the rules, and the people permit it, citizens become subjects. Make no mistake. While tyranny may serve some for a time, it will ultimately serve only itself. Power serves power. Tyranny will consume the liberty of everyone, except those with power and money. Tyrants are not vegetarians. Their meat is the people. If not you today, then someday soon. Don’t cheer when the wolf eats your enemy. You are his prey too.

So when citizens of a free country hear see their chief law enforcement officer colluding, the head of a once respected law enforcement agency make an impassioned case for the crimes of an elected or appointed official, then shrug it off with no consequences, they are watching themselves become subjects.

There is the law for the peasantry, the varlet, the knave, then there is the law for the Lords and Ladies of the manor. Honor the King, pay your ducal tithe, (how much of the $ 200 million dollar Clinton fortune would that amount to, one wonders?), and come to do battle if your fellow Nobles are threatened. Do this, and the nobility will protect you as well.

And should one of your peons think to commit the same acts for which you are excused, why then bring back the dungeon! Drawing, quartering, the stocks, branding, none of it is too severe for an answer.

After all, who do these common folk think they are? The Queen is not subject to the same mores and strictures as the blacksmith. One would think they had held a revolution while one slept.




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