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Supreme Court Rules Private Property Can be Seized 1829

slew writes "CNN is reporting that the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in a case where a local community seized private houses for commercial development (not public works) under the guise of eminent domain. Needless to say, the little guy loses to the commercial developer this case... "
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Supreme Court Rules Private Property Can be Seized

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  • bush judges (Score:1, Insightful)

    by mycal ( 135781 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:07PM (#12893903) Journal

    guess we need bush judges more than ever now
  • pwn3d (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Binestar ( 28861 ) * on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:08PM (#12893912) Homepage
    So what the supreme court ruled was that you own your land, but the wealthy business pwns j00
  • Just the next step (Score:2, Insightful)

    by VikingDBA ( 446387 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:08PM (#12893918)
    along a long line of vanishing freedoms.
  • by Tuxedo Jack ( 648130 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:08PM (#12893921) Homepage
    And it overturns the ruling from the early 90s involving Donald Trump trying to seize a woman's house to turn her land into a parking garage for a casino, I don't see how in the world this is classified as YRO.

    Perhaps the ruling applies to online property as well - though the major companies generally try to invoke the DMCA for that (Microsoft vs. Mike Rowe, et cetera). That would make it relevant.
  • All hail the rich (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ewithrow ( 409712 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:09PM (#12893923) Homepage
    The war against the rich and lower classes is over.

    The rich have won.
  • Dammit... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tebriel ( 192168 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:09PM (#12893924)
    Increasing the tax base is now a reason to seize someone's property. Nice.
  • Hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Demona ( 7994 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:09PM (#12893929) Homepage
    I can see "Your Rights", but I'm missing the "Online".
  • by spun ( 1352 ) * <> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:10PM (#12893944) Journal
    We only have the illusion of a free market in this country. From agricultural subsidies to tarrifs on trade to tax write offs for big corporations. And now we have this. You don't even own the things you own, unless you are rich, and then you own everything that poor people own, if you want it.

    In Soviet Amerika, all your house are belong to the rich.
  • by RoverDaddy ( 869116 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:12PM (#12893967) Homepage
    They stated that this doesn't nothing to prevent states from legislating limits on eminent domain seizures by municipal government

    And that will happen when? Don't forget who's pulling the strings of all those state legislatures.
  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:14PM (#12894010)
    Historians in 100+ years may look back and say that this was the real beginning of the end of US society as we know it. Why? Virtually any sociologist or related scientist will tell you that the basis for a civilized society are strong property rights.

    Personally, I'm disgusted by the ruling. We're going to see *massive*, third-world level corruption appearing in the headlines any time now. It'll be easy for developers to pay off the local gov't to kick people off of their land so that we can have yet another strip mall. This has got to be one of the worst rulings in the recent history of the Supreme Court.
  • Re:pwn3d (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pete-classic ( 75983 ) <> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:14PM (#12894012) Homepage Journal
    Let's lay the blame where it belongs. Sure the businesses are acting in self interest, but it's the government acting like thugs.

  • by aliens ( 90441 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:14PM (#12894015) Homepage Journal
    Thank you for seeing through the knee-jerk reaction. Basically they said what the Conservatives would normally say, the states have the power. Rather than limit the rights of the states this ruling gives them more power. What they do with it is not for the federal government to decide.

    Want your state to make laws to prevent this? Show up and vote.
  • by DeafDumbBlind ( 264205 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:15PM (#12894020)
    Thomas and Scalia in a disenting opinion.

    What's the world coming to???

    WTF were the other 5 bozos thinking??
  • Re:pwn3d (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Uruk ( 4907 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:15PM (#12894031)
    It's not the wealth of the business that makes them effective, it's their contacts with the local city government. If they convince the city government that some piece of development is in the city's best interests, they're in. It doesn't take money to do this, it just takes connections.

    The principle that has been established is that you own your land unless the government can think of a purpose for your land that would suit what they identify as the higher economic good. That's called expropriation [].

    Expropriation is bad, mmmkay?

  • by mosel-saar-ruwer ( 732341 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:16PM (#12894048)

    This is the constitution as it was written:
    Today, five supreme court justices, who are sworn to uphold that constitution, changed it to read:
    nor shall private property be taken for PUBLIC OR PRIVATE use, without just compensation
    It is very difficult to overemphasize quite how evil this ruling is.

  • Re:bush judges (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:17PM (#12894061) Journal
    Three conservatives and one swing.

    5-4: One more conservative and it would have gone the other way.

    That's why the "filibuster the judicial appointments" battle - a warmup for the next supreme court opening - is so important.
  • by DigitalRaptor ( 815681 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:18PM (#12894075) Homepage
    Exept for one problem. It undermines the US Constitution.

    Basic property rights shouldn't have to be defined 50 times in 50 different constitutions and fought in the courts of 50 different states.

    The whole point of the Constitution is to protect the rights of all US citizens, regardless of which state they live in.

  • by mikael ( 484 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:18PM (#12894078)
    One proposal is that the compensation paid for the land should be for the rezoned purpose, and not four the current use.

    Do a Google search for the case Kelo vs. New London []. It has been subject to considerable discussion in many places.

    For anyone considering moving states and buying a house, this is going to make them think very carefully about buying a home close to a business park, strip mall or hotel. I wonder if the city councils have considered how this is going to affect their property taxes.

  • by l2718 ( 514756 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:19PM (#12894086)

    Reading the ruling [], I find the dissents by O'Connor and Thomas much more perusasive. The ruling amounts to saying that, starting today, if others can use your property in a way that will be better for the general public, for example if:

    1. they will pay more taxes than you do now; or,
    2. the public will find the house they will build more aesthetically pleasing than yours is; or,
    3. they bribe the local politicians more than you can afford.
    then the government can simply take away your property and give it to them.

    Of course you have to be "justly compensated". However, all this means is you will get back the "market value" of your property, i.e. what it is worth to a random person on the street. That could be very different from what it is worth to you, or even what it is worth to the developer who will get it and profit from it. Unlike normal economics, where the developers will have to pay based on what they can use the property for, the fair market value will depend on what you are using the property for today. And you personal enjoyment of living in a home you've owned for a long time doesn't factor into that.

    Do you think Ms. Dery, who is 87 years old and lives in the house she was born in will be compensated for value of that? She only will be compensated for the value of the house assuming it was sold for profit.

  • by jthayden ( 811997 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:19PM (#12894088)
    I've been showing up to vote for awhile now. It doesn't seem to stop the all out freefall of this country. Next suggestion?
  • by Uruk ( 4907 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:19PM (#12894094)
    The conservatives are really tripping over themselves on this one. In their haste to let the state's decide their own fate, they lost sight of the vital role of the government to protect individuals from people who would take their property away from them.

    The SCOTUS is also supposed to be in the position to identify a nasty slippery slope when they see one. Here, people are left wondering: "if my government comes up with what they think is a better use for my land, can they take it without asking permission?"

    The ruling in the state courts (which the SCOTUS deferred to) was based on what the city represented as its intentions with the plan. That's not sound at all - it's the legal way of saying "OK, we'll take you at your word on that". Bogus all the way.

  • Re:Aarghhh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wordsmith ( 183749 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:19PM (#12894104) Homepage
    I'm not sure whether I agree with the court's ruling, but you don't think a healthy local economy can be in the public's good? What if it provides local jobs, or gives the neighborhood a nice downtown?

    As a libertarian, I tend to say "fuck off" to government when it wants to curtail my liberties in the interest of the public good, even when I believe that interest might actually be served. But that aside, the court may have been right in finding commercial development MAY in some cases fall within the definition of public good.
  • by Saven Marek ( 739395 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:19PM (#12894105)
    This is very telling.

    First, we do not own what we actually buy, rather we 'license' it. We don't own it and what we bought can be taken away from us at the whim of the company that "really owns" the IP involved.

    Now even our houses and land can be taken away from us by those same companies, for the greater good.

    We don't own our DNA, as that has been patented.

    We don't own our own medical treatment, that belongs to HMOs.

    And people criticised the communist nations for state intrusion into private lives. ha.
  • Re:Bogus! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FatRatBastard ( 7583 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:20PM (#12894120) Homepage
    No, it frightens the hell out of me. In fact, I even have problems with the "elimination of blight" aspect of ED too (first championed by DC, my current residence) simply because the people who determine just what constitues "blight" are the very same people who are trying to grab the land. You would be amazed at what some juridictions have classified as "condemned" in order to grab land.
  • Re:bush judges (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stevyn ( 691306 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:21PM (#12894126)
    Thanks so much for pointing this out. When I first saw this comment, I went down each of the judges and checked their affiliation. The two democrats voted for this decision. Three other republicans voted for it and four other republicans voted against it.

    The original comment seemed to imply that it's the republicans who are the evil doers in this case, but it's in fact the democrats who think it's okay to give authority to a municipality to bulldoze a home to build a Walmart.
  • Uh, wrong (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Frangible ( 881728 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:22PM (#12894139)
    Look at who voted on what-- the most conservative judges were against the corporate takeover of the private land. The liberal judges all voted in favor of the corporation. The Republicans here were the only ones that stood up for the middle class. Oh, and that city council in the first place? Democrats. You'll need to find a new scapegoat, the Republican aren't the demon this time.
  • by KlomDark ( 6370 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:22PM (#12894145) Homepage Journal
    Same here. WTF are we coming to? Guess it's time to use the 2nd Amendment Citizen Veto - Some rich fucker kicks me out of my house, there's going to be blood spilled. Sorry, my get-along limits stop there.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:22PM (#12894152)
    Your government can now take your property for the "public good"

    There is nothing wrong with having your home forcefully bought from you, assuming that you are paid a fair price for it, and it is for something critical, such as infrastructure (New highway, waterway, power lines, etc...) That is in the constitution for a reason.

    What there is a problem with, is the ability of a corporation to be able to buy your property, because they will generate more tax revenue than you will. That's just farked up.

    There was a big thing here a few years ago where a church had bought a large plot of land to expand their church on. The land was zoned in such a way that it would have been legal. After the church bought the land, Costco came to the city, and expressed interest in the land. The city chaged the zoning laws so the church couldn't build, and tried to use emminent domain to seize the church's land. Eventually, the case was settled out of court, with Costco buying the land from the church, and supplying them with a new suitable plot.
  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:23PM (#12894166)
    So now if you have a prime piece of property, say with a nice view, and someone else with better political connections wants to force you to sell it to him, the Supreme Court of the United States says this is just fine with them.

    What amazes me here is that the "liberal" wing of the court has ruled against the "little guy" single homeowner, and in favor of the wealthy corporations who can buy political influence easier than I can buy a loaf of bread. And the "conservative" wing is actually standing up for the little guy against the wealthy corporations who make millions in redevelopment. Who would'da thought?

  • Re:Aarghhh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarthWiggle ( 537589 ) <> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:23PM (#12894170) Journal
    Why should Congress limit eminent domain if we can vote for the people who exercise it? The way I see it, if these town council folks don't get booted out in the next election, that's a referendum on their use of state power.
  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:25PM (#12894200) Journal
    Increasing the tax base is now a reason to seize someone's property.

    And that creates a new way around California's Proposition 13 (which keeps them from raising property taxes on your house and land until it sells). Watch for this:

    1) Emminent domain the tax-capped house.
    2) Sell it to another buyer. (Taxes now at new rate.)
    3) Previous owner has to buy a different house. (Taxes now at new rate.)

    Old owner is now paying the higher tax rate. Old property is now taxed at the higher tax rate.

    Public good: Increased tax base.

    Supremes say that's OK, it's a state matter.

  • Re:bush judges (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pudge ( 3605 ) * <> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:25PM (#12894204) Homepage Journal
    It's not really useful to separate the judges by who appointed them, in most cases. What's more useful is looking at their voting history, which makes Souter a liberal on the court, regardless of the fact that he was nominated by Bush I.

    And now we have two prominent cases in a row where the "bad guys" are the liberal judges (yes, Scalia voted "against" medical marijuana, but they would have won without his vote, too). Liberal/Conservative is a different thing in the SCOTUS chambers than it is in the halls of Congress.
  • by dinaui ( 733236 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:26PM (#12894207)
    You clearly missed the point stated in Justice O'Connor's dissent: namely, that if what the city of New London is planning to do with the land is a public use, it's pretty damned hard to imagine what isn't a public use. (It's actually the same problem as the marijuana ruling from a few weeks ago: if growing and using your own pot is interstate commerce (and therefore regulatable), it's hard to imagine what isn't interstate commerce.)
  • Re:bush judges (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sixteenraisins ( 67316 ) <william@purplea[ ... m ['ndb' in gap]> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:26PM (#12894217) Homepage
    Don't forget that when Bush Sr. appointed Souter, he wasn't the President's first choice. He originally nominated Robert Bork, but the largely Democratic senate wouldn't approve his appointment.

    An interesting phenomenon has come over Stevens and Kennedy, and it's evident in this ruling - as these justices have aged, their rulings have gradually begun to slant more toward the liberal side. Justice O'Connor falls into that category as well, but not on this particular issue.

    As hard-core conservative as Bush Jr. seems to be, it wouldn't surprise me to see him nominate another Scalia- or Thomas-type, and the Republican Senate would almost surely approve.
  • Re:bush judges (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hexghost ( 444585 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:27PM (#12894227) Homepage
    Supreme court justices are neither democrats nor republicans, so your little jibe doesn't hold. Judges swing both ways depending on the issue - notice when Scalia votes with O'Conner.
  • by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:27PM (#12894237) Homepage Journal
    You may also have found yourself agreeing with Rehnquist and Thomas (but not Scalia) with respect to the medical marijuana case a few weeks ago.

    Yeah, it's making me feel kind of dirty to be agreeing with them, too.

    But they seem to be genuine small-government government conservatives, as opposed to Christian fundamentlaist conservatives, and those with libertarian instincts run a lot closer to "conservative" than big-government "liberal". But for some reason the two types of conservatives are in bed together and they're hard to prise apart. Scalia went puritanical on the medical marijuana decision, since he falls closer to the religious side of the conservative spectrum.
  • by saintp ( 595331 ) <<stpierre> <at> <>> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:27PM (#12894238) Homepage
    In Soviet Russia, the government steals the homes of the working class in order to reorganize the country and funnel money to their wealthy cronies!

    That didn't come out as funny as I planned it. In fact, now that I've written it down, it's awfully frightening.

  • Re:bush judges (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superyanthrax ( 835242 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:27PM (#12894242)
    Traditionally, the behavior of judges is hard to predict based on who nominated them. For example, John Paul Stevens was nominated by Ford, and may be the most liberal member of the Supreme Court. It is not really surprising that the conservatives would dissent, because conservatives value the sanctity of private property, and thus would oppose any sort of government seizing of that property (eminent domain) for any reason.
  • Oh yes it is (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Concern ( 819622 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:27PM (#12894246) Journal
    the supreme court doesn't feel it's their job the decide what falls within the "public good" clause of eminent domain.

    It's the court's job, and indeed a grave necessity, for them to rule on matters of constitutionality. Whether or not states set limits on eminent domain, the court must decide if those limits are constitutional.

    By taking the position you describe, SCOTUS has nullified the entire concept of "public good." Since anything can now qualify as a public good and pass the constitutional test, it is exactly as if they redacted the words directly from the parchment.

    Yes, this means that they effectively repealed a rather important portion of the 5th amendment by fiat.

    Private property is now a fiction in the United States. "Property" is now redefined as something that you temporarily occupy under the consent and sufference of your local political majority.

    This signals the beginning of a campaign of legal home invasion, as wealthy and politically-connected people will wield the government to transfer the property of others to themselves. Despotism, by any other name.

    The end result will be familiar to anyone who'se lived in a radically unjust society: violence.
  • by jpetts ( 208163 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:27PM (#12894249)
    The interesting thing about the split from my point of view was that it allied O'Connor (who wrote the dissent) and Thomas with Scalia and Rehnquist.

    I read most of the opinions of SCOTUS, and the dissent in this case was a great piece of judicial writing, and very, very stinging. The dissent begins:

    Over two centuries ago, just after the Bill of Rights was ratified, Justice Chase wrote:
    "An ACT of the Legislature (for I cannot call it a law) contrary to the great first principles of the social compact, cannot be considered a rightful exercise of legislative authority . . . . A few instances will suffice to explain what I mean. . . . [A] law that takes property from A. and gives it to B: It is against all reason and justice, for a people to entrust a Legislature with SUCH powers; and, therefore, it cannot be presumed that they have done it." Calder v. Bull, 3 Dall. 386, 388 (1798) (emphasis deleted).
    Today the Court abandons this long-held, basic limitation on government power. Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded - i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public - in the process.

    This is some of the strongest language that I have ever seen in a dissent from O'Connor, and I am sure that it represents one of the widest divergences that this particular court has expressed. I think it will be tremendously interesting to see how this plays out.

    My particular concern is that this appears to me to be a sweeping decision that that is being sweetened with the idea of pre-existingh checks and balances that will act as a bulwark against abuses. I simply don't believe this. Given the increasingly corporatist leanings of the executive and legislature, I am very, very sad to see the judiciary handing down this opinion, as I believe now that corporations will be able to force the exercise of eminent domain purely by financial muscle, and with an opinion of this sort from SCOTUS, it's going to be very, VERY difficult for people who want to stand against it.

    What price now the Fourth Amendment?
  • Re:bush judges (Score:1, Insightful)

    by nokilli ( 759129 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:28PM (#12894254)
    Yes, but you can't count on Conservatives either.

    Witness how Scalia and Kennedy voted in Raich. Then consider why [].

    The court needs to be abolished and replaced with Supreme Juries. Each case/review/whatever sees nine of us selected at random and flying out to Washington to deal with whatever the problem is.

    Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. And the supreme Court has been corrupted, absolutely.
  • by joebok ( 457904 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:29PM (#12894271) Homepage Journal
    I don't know who is tripping up who - the dissenters were O'Connor, Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas. As a liberal tending person, I was a bit surprised to find myself siding with them on this one.
  • by MirthScout ( 247854 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:29PM (#12894275)
    Except that the Constitution enumerates the things that the government CAN do. If it ain't in there then we the people have not authorized the government to do it.
  • It is public use! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ( 142825 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:30PM (#12894281) Homepage
    The justices said it was public use. The same way that they decided that drug use is an interstate commerce issue -- because there is a chance that it might effect insterstate commerce.

    By bulldozing your house, and putting up a Walmart, it is a public use because they can collect sales tax -- see, public use.

    Well, at least we can still speak against the government, or at least for today.

  • Re:pwn3d (Score:4, Insightful)

    by josecanuc ( 91 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:30PM (#12894292) Homepage Journal
    The principle that has been established is that you own your land unless the government can think of a purpose for your land that would suit what they identify as the higher economic good.

    They are turning the Constitution's wording ("except for public use") into their own wording ("except for public benefit").


  • Re:Aarghhh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by l2718 ( 514756 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:31PM (#12894310)
    Why should Congress limit eminent domain if we can vote for the people who exercise it?

    This point is made by the majority, and nicely refuted by the dissent. The problem is that the people most likely to be hurt by this ruling are the poor and uneducated, who have much less access to and influence over the political process. On the other hand the people who benefit are the rich, who do wield considerable influence. When is the last time eminent domain was used to take away a $1,000,000 home to make way for affordable housing?

    To make the point another way, if the electoral process provided a sufficient check over abuse of eminent domain, there would be no need for a Constitutional guarantee against that abuse. The case in point shows the need for a secured right.

  • Re:bush judges (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shalda ( 560388 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:32PM (#12894326) Homepage Journal
    In fact, the dissenting judges in this case are very conservative-federalists that take a strict reading of the constitution. At least on property rights. The court as a whole is sorta schizophrenic. What really cracks me up is that Justice Thomas writes an excellent and thoughtful dissent - until the second to last paragraph. He then rants about how Emminent Domain laws have largely been used against the poor downtrodden minorities. I've read a number of his opinions and he would be a truly great justice if he didn't keep throwing his cred out the window complaining about how "the Man" is keepin' him and the brothers down.
  • Re:bush judges (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cromac ( 610264 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:35PM (#12894355)
    You think Bushs judges had anything to do with this? The liberals running King County in Washington took 65% of every rural land owners property []. Give me Bush judges over socalist liberals anyday.
  • Re:Aarghhh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XorNand ( 517466 ) * on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:35PM (#12894363)
    You're a self-proclaimed "libertarian" and you don't know whether to support the expansion of eminent domain powers or not?

    Please surrender your membership card at the door. Thank you.
  • Re:bush judges (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:36PM (#12894369)
    I can't imagine what mental contortions you've had to go through in the past to expect this decision, or which judges would be on which side of it, to have been any different.

    Nothing has changed. Thomas is the only principled judge on this court. Its "right" usually twists its reasoning to fit a strange fascist-mercantilist reading of the Constitution, and its "left" always does.

    And you were always wrong. Enjoy your day of clarity. Try to sustain it.

  • by suitepotato ( 863945 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:39PM (#12894425)
    The leftists are the ones most given to seizing private property and giving it to someone else. They've been doing it for years with the tax and welfare scam, and this is no different than the sort of things that occur in countries where socialists and communists seize power. First thing, eliminate the right to private property and seize it all under a thin veneer of "common good".

    I am totally unsurprised at who voted against this. This was pure and simple an attack on the lowest economic rung of property owners not by big business which was sitting on the far side of the whole thing, but THE STATE, which waved the "public good" flag around. New London isn't a lot different from the CT city I live in and believe me, it is the most left wing of the politicians who see no problem with seizing private property for their own whims and interests. They believe that if you aren't wealthy enough to afford the legal team to keep your property, you shouldn't have it and go live in the projects on welfare. The wealthier can keep theirs until the revolution when it gets inevitably seized.

    I would also note that NONE of the leftist politicians in town live ANYWHERE NEAR the neighborhoods they claim to represent. They live in the affluent southern section where the police concentrate their presence and harass people who don't look like they should be there, keeping "those other people" up in the north end.

    And where do they want to harass struggling homeowners on the lower economic end? Whose homes do they try to condemn? Where do they want to demolish everything and put up retail stores? Our neighborhood, not theirs.

    Whoever wins, we lose. Fight the lie people. Socialism is bunk. The Constitution is being assaulted heavily and worst by the people who claim the loudest and longest to be protectors of civil rights. Whoever you vote for, vote FREEDOM FIRST.
  • LLLLWWCCC (Score:4, Insightful)

    by glrotate ( 300695 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:39PM (#12894433) Homepage
    Stevens - Liberal
    Ginsburg - Liberal
    Breyer - Liberal
    Souter - Liberal
    O'Connor - Waffler
    Kennedy - Waffler
    Rehnquist - Conservative
    Thomas - Conservative
    Scalia - Conservative

    Generally speaking, of course. YMMV on particular issues.
  • Re:bush judges (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zangief ( 461457 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:45PM (#12894507) Homepage Journal
    Why they have to sell? Even if they were offered BIG money, they have no obligation to sell.

    Now, if this was to build some hospital, yes, it's right to just force them to sell.

    But they just want to build some offices for a private company. The people should have all the right in the world to say NO.
  • by slashdot_commentator ( 444053 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:48PM (#12894551) Journal
    And what are you going to do when Walmart is the one taking your house? Shoot 100K share holders? Or more likely, the rent-a-cop, or the CEO corporate flunky? As long as you're making a blood sacrifice, that will even the books? Are you willing to destroy your family's economic survival to prove a point?

    You may be thinking a little too small view here.
  • Re:bush judges (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pudge ( 3605 ) * <> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:48PM (#12894558) Homepage Journal
    It's quite clear that a judge that Bush might nominate -- a conservative, a strict constructionist -- would have sided against this decision.

    Decisions like this make the case of Judge Bork all the more depressing. If he had not been Borked, he'd be there instead of Kennedy, and we would have a slightly more sane court.
  • Re:bush judges (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OzPhIsH ( 560038 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:49PM (#12894575) Journal
    I'd say toss up on whether more bush/republican judges would help here. Both democrats were in favor, but so were three republicans.

    Depsite that fact the dividing up the SCOTUS judges by party affiliation is a pretty dumb thing to do, I will say that 100% percent of the Democrats on the bench, unsurprisingly to most, voted for this. I'd much rather go with the party that fucks us 40% of the time and not 100% of the time. Of course I would much rather have a Judge I actually AGREED with 100%, but that's never ever ever going to happen.
  • by mydn ( 195771 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:51PM (#12894594)
    If it's not in the Constitution then we have not authorized the federal government to do it. That's what the 10th Amendment says:
    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
    So based on this ruling people are not going to get any help from the federal government to protect their homes. This is a battle that must be waged at the state level. Or Congress could quit wasting their time trying to pass amendments that redefine marriage and restrict free speech and instead pass an amendment that protects peoples homes.

    How's that whole Contract On America working out for you?

  • Re:bush judges (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kitzilla ( 266382 ) <> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:51PM (#12894596) Homepage Journal
    > 5-4: One more conservative and it would have gone the other way.

    Or one moderate judge. Or a liberal judge that hasn't lost his mind.

    We don't need a "conservative" court. We just need a court with good balance and jurists who think deeply.

  • Re:bush judges (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pudge ( 3605 ) * <> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:53PM (#12894617) Homepage Journal
    I don't know what Ford was thinking with Stevens. But Kennedy was only nominated because Bork was Borked, so Reagan had to pick someone more moderate. Same basic thing with Souter (not a specific Borking, but the fear of it).

    It's amazing that Thomas ever got confirmed, given how hard it is to get bipartisan support in the post-Bork era the Democrats have given us, but he probably got in primarily because he is black, else he likely wouldn't have been able to get Democratic support. The other three Republican nominees were confirmed in the pre-Bork era.

    But Bush has given very clear signals he has no intention of nominating such moderates as Souter and Kennedy.
  • by spun ( 1352 ) * <> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:53PM (#12894621) Journal
    I'm trying to point out that 'compromise' in this country is made in the interest of the rich more often than of the poor, and that the myth is that we have (and should have) a free market. The ones who squawk the loudest about the free market are usually the ones who want it the least.

    Oh, and thanks for implying that I am a school child, have no grasp of the real world, and need to relax. Could you have crammed any more underhanded ad-hominem attacks in that short of a post? I think not.
  • Re:Aarghhh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wordsmith ( 183749 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:54PM (#12894627) Homepage
    Not what I said. I certainly don't support the expansion of eminent domain.

    However, my feelings on the issue are entirely seperate from whether the court is right in finding that this sort of eminent domain is legal, within the framework set forth by the constitution. I have no idea whether the court's ruling is legally sound, because I'm no legal scholar and know only a little about the case.

    People have a tendancy to want courts to rule in favor of their chosen policy perspectives. That's not the way courts are supposed to work. Courts are supposed to decide what is and isn't consistent with law - including higher law such as local constitutions, or the federal constitution.

    For instance - I wholeheartedly support gay marriage (so long as its not manditory, to paraphrase Jon Stewart) but some courts may be right in saying their state constitutions do nothing to prevent the legislature from outlawing it. (Actually, I think government should get out of the marriage business altogether, and let it be an entirely social convention with the same legal weight as a bar mitzvah or confirmation, but I digress).
  • by l2718 ( 514756 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:55PM (#12894638)
    "For Ms. Dery, there's no amount of compensation that the city or developers can provide. All she wanted to do was to die in the same house in which she was born."

    True. In other words, she will find no amount of money worth it for her to leave. However, this doesn't mean she deserves no compensation at all for this non-economic value she ascribes to the house. And, if this was a sensible case of eminent domain (the confiscation was made to build a road, say), I would agree that there's a limit to what the public will pay.

    However, this case is very different. Here, Pfizer Co. wants her house to build a factory there instead, so they can generate profits for their stockholders. In a civilized society this would be an entirely private matter and she would simply have the right to refuse their offer (in other words, set the price at the true value of the house to her). In the wild west, Pfizer would have hired some thugs to harass her off the property. In the 21st century, Pfizer has hired the city of New London to remove Ms. Dery, by promising to pay paying more taxes than she does. This is not the NLPD's fault, but they will be acting as Pfizer's hired thugs this time.

  • Re:bush judges (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Curtman ( 556920 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:56PM (#12894647)
    "It's the liberals who want to give away private property - the conservatives want to give away PUBLIC property."

    Just goes to show you that the sides aren't so clearly defined. We need to oppose dangerous ideas, not the liberals or the conservatives.
  • by Sir_Eptishous ( 873977 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:56PM (#12894658) Homepage
    Yes, what a very whacked way to describe 'public' use. So that some lame-ass municipality can cry and get it's tax base. The justices that ruled in favor of this should be ashamed.

    But lets not assume this is some kind of 'liberal' conspiracy to take away your summer home in the hamptons... Wal-Mart, the (ahem...) largest employer in the US, was definitely behind this and other land grabs. They are always trying to force local governments (usually not a hard thing to do...) to allow zoning changes so they can throw up one of their "always low wages" super-scenters.
  • Re:bush judges (Score:5, Insightful)

    by palutke ( 58340 ) * on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:56PM (#12894660)
    . . . These people were offered on average $1.7 million

    The amount they were offered is irrelevant. If they didn't want to sell, the government shouldn't compel it for commercial development. Schools and roads are one thing, strip malls and hotels are another.

    In general the government is only supposed to do this stuff . . .

    When has the government (on any level) stopped at what it's supposed to do? In several of the places I've lived, the local government was effectively an extension of the local real-estate developers. Do you expect them to do the right thing? I sure don't.

    . . . ou say the same thing when they had to take a few houses in order to start providing running water for people for the first time?

    There's a huge difference between providing public services and building a strip mall.
  • Disease (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Associate ( 317603 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @05:57PM (#12894662) Homepage
    Decisions like this breed domestic terrorism.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:00PM (#12894706)
    It's too bad they didn't feel the same way when it came to the medical marijuana case from Cali, since essentially the same principles are involved. Scalia in particular seemed to switch-hit for the statist team on that one.
  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:00PM (#12894708)
    Sure the businesses are acting in self interest, but it's the government acting like thugs.

    Actually, I think it's probably "the government" acting in its interests too- preventing any erosion of eminent domain. What's next, people arguing how much of the "public interest" that new bypass is? Can't have that!

    I'd have less of a problem with eminent domain if property owners had to be compensated several times fair market value for their property (you're being forced off your land, you need something more than just "what it was worth"). It'd make developers and government planners think twice about pushing people around.

    The whole concept is from legislation dating back to the 1800's for the railroads to gobble up property to build cross-country rail lines. It's extremely outdated- few if any projects are big enough to require that sort of thing (and anyway, the railroads made a SHITLOAD of money, they could have bought the land fair and square).

    Inconvenience doesn't superceede my rights.

  • Re:bush judges (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eyeball ( 17206 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:01PM (#12894717) Journal
    The four judges who voted AGAINST the local government's land grab were Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas and O'Commor. It's the liberals who want to give away private property - the conservatives want to give away PUBLIC property.

    Or you could look at it this way: The conservatives want the rich to own all the businesses and property. The liberals want the government to own all the businesses and property. What neither side realize is that we're so close to the rich, government, and businesses all being the same, why bother fighting? :)

  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:02PM (#12894733)
    It is very difficult to overemphasize quite how evil this ruling is.

    It is so evil it extends itself into the Fifth and First Ammendments. Don't like that "hippie" commune next door, the "dirty" bookstore or an independent political opponant?

    No need to fight in the "American Way," anymore. Simply seize the property and hand it over to a crony for "development."

    Want Randy Weaver off the mountain? Simply sign a paper and make him legally a trespasser in his own home.

    This effectively makes the holding of real property a grant by the government, a fuedal/monarchial idea.

    The foundation of America is the concept that real property is held by private right, and one can be secure there even against government intrusion.

    Nevermind what effect this is going to have on property values by removing the right of the property holder to negotiate price on the open market, not to mention buyer confidence in shelling out any kind of real money for a home.

    Not that it matters, as this is the first giant step toward "them" simply telling you where you're going to live and how much you are going to pay for the priviledge.

  • by astaines ( 451138 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:02PM (#12894737) Homepage

    To quote "the dammed fools - I told them". This is the logical conclusion of a corporatist state, like yours, where the rights of an individual count for nothing compared to the rights and privileges of corporations. You are now, officially, corporate slaves.

    This has nothing to do with Republican vs. Democrat, the rather pathetic shadow boxing which your owners use to confuse you and distract you from what's reallly going on. And as for liberal vs. conservative - I give up, by the standards of real politics you're all hard right conservatives.

    The deepest issue is in whose interests is the state run? It's not run in the interests of the people anymore, and hasn't been for at least fifty years. The last president who wasn't a corporate shill was Jimmy Carter, and before him probably Eisenhower.

    So. What's to be done? You can, and probably will, lie down under this, so, before you roll over on your couch read, mark, learn and inwardly digest Martin Niemöller's [] lines about moral failure in the face of the Holocaust:-

    'First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist, so I said nothing. Then they came for the Social Democrats, but I was not a Social Democrat, so I did nothing. Then they came for the trade unionists, but I was not a trade unionist. And then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did little. Then when they came for me, there was no one left to stand up for me.'

    You've already locked up your communists, destroyed your social democrats, and gutted your trade unions. So, I'd say that you're stuffed anyway.

    This is a pity, you're a great country, with a lot of really amazing people. But only you can fix it now.

  • Re:bush judges (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thangodin ( 177516 ) <> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:04PM (#12894766) Homepage
    I was pleasantly surprised to see the conservative judges line up against this one. This could have gone either way. Yes, it's the government taking the property, but they are taking it for the benefit of private business interests. This means that a big company *cough*Wal Mart*cough* could slip the local government some "incentives" and practically rezone and rebuild the city to their liking.

    This is private interests screwing other private interests through the intermediary of government. Come to think of it, since the rights of all corporations are legal constructs enforced by governments, isn't that always the way it works?

    Not that I'm a strict libertarian--everybody is a libertarian about their own freedoms and a fascist when it comes to their own rights. Get rid of the government you elect, and it will be replaced by one you didn't elect--and can't unelect.
  • Re:Aarghhh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Struct ( 660658 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:06PM (#12894787)
    It seems almost reasonable at first to say that as long as it's for the 'public good', then it's probably okay for the city to take this land. Justice O'Conner's dissent very clearly states what is wrong with that thinking, though:
    "Today the Court abandons this long-held, basic limitation on government power. Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded--i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public--in the process. To reason, as the Court does, that the incidental public benefits resulting from the subsequent ordinary use of private property render economic development takings "for public use" is to wash out any distinction between private and public use of property--and thereby effectively to delete the words "for public use" from the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment."

    In short, the ruling today has decided that being in the 'public good' is simply a matter of being 'generally kind of better than what was there before, maybe' (although specifically, they find that there is no burden on the developer to ensure that the 'public good' is ever actually realized).

    Basically, private property owners like you and me get the shaft when developers decide they can do something more publicly beneificial with our land than we can. Totally nuts.

  • Re:bush judges (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dictator For Life ( 8829 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:06PM (#12894790) Homepage
    Ford cannot credibly be described as a conservative.
  • by Snerdley ( 98439 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:09PM (#12894834)
    From the dissent:

    "Today the Court abandons this long-held, basic limitation on government power. Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded--i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public--in the process."

    The sole argument for the misappropriation of these properties seems to be that the overall tax coffers would benefit. That is, there will be higher property, income, and sales taxes due to the economic development.

    Now, I'm as pro-business as you'll find on /. (I've been hammered here before for it.). But what about private property that simply doesn't generate tax revenue?

    Churches would be poster-children here: they provide no tax revenue (property, sales, etc), and generally, they exist in spite of popular opinion: a 80% baptist (or catholic/muslim/jewish/etc) community could very easily decide that the property of a minority religion's church is simply expendable.

    This opens doors of corruption, discrimination, and hatred on a scale that simply frightens me.

    I hope they designate a church on one of those properties quickly (before the bulldozers get there) so that this goes back up on a (slightly) stronger ammendment claim (the First!).

    One final thought: I have yet to find ANYONE who thinks this is a good idea! I've heard people blame it on the "corporate elite" (presumably right-wing), and on the "socialists and statists", but nobody's claiming this as their own! How do we get a majory of justices on the SCOTUS that nobody agrees with??
  • by temojen ( 678985 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:10PM (#12894848) Journal
    It pisses me off when people jump to conclusions without hearing all the facts.

    It pisses me of when Americans confuse Democrats with liberals. Ralph Nader and Jack Layton are liberals; John Kerry and Paul Martin are just less right-wing than George Bush and Stephen Harper.

  • Re:bush judges (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:12PM (#12894868) Homepage Journal
    The court tends to be conservative, only not in the conventional political sense. It tends to narrowly rule in such a way as to err on the side of caution and with tradition, though there are exceptions to it. This is one of the things that encourages many people following the Grokster case, in that the court is usually loathe to overturn precedent, particularly that which it explicitly set in very clear terms in the relatively recent past.

    Decisions like Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade that make significant changes in how the Constitution is interpreted are fairly rare. Right now, there are two appellate decisions on the Second Amendment that stand in almost direct contradiction to each other, with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the right to bear arms is an individual right, while the Ninth Circuit ruled that there is no individual right. When the opportunity came up to decide the issue, the Supreme Court declined because, I suspect, they were not willing to dive into those admittedly troublesome waters.

    They're also very pedantic. Several recent decisions were turned away or dismissed entirely because the person making the challenge did not hold proper standing. They insist that proper procedures and protocol are followed to the letter, and have little patience for those who do otherwise.
  • Re:bush judges (Score:3, Insightful)

    by deanoaz ( 843940 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:13PM (#12894898)

    Take homes from rich and poor alike. That makes it okay. The developers need the land, the city needs the tax revenue. If you don't like it move to someplace where the government can only seize property for public use, like it says in the 5th Amendment... oh. Never Mind.

    "The uncontested absurdities of today are the accepted slogans of tomorrow." - Ayn Rand
  • by Bruha ( 412869 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:22PM (#12895015) Homepage Journal
    If you're likely to fit into the group that buys a house and stays put until you die then you could be harmed by this ruling.

    A person who buys and works 30 years to pay off their house in anticipation of living on their retirement (Fixed income). Typically these neighborhoods will go down in value as the houses age over the years. The property will probably retain or increase in value.

    Perhaps it's lakefront property that you bought 30 years ago when the city did not even incorporate in that area and you were rural. But urban sprawl eventually caused to be in the city's influence.

    Now the city is looking for more tax revenue due to their overspending and have limited options for development. Rather than raise the taxes on the whole to make up for this, or the citizens deal with the big spenders through the elective process those council members hear from private developers that you have some land they are interested in. So they begin the process of condeming property to allow the developer to take over.

    Now the neighborhood is a bit run down but it's a quality place to live and many living there are fixed income retirees. The city is now telling them to move and a house that normally woudl be worth 200,000 dollars is only being offered 60,000 dollars. These people cannot afford to move because nowhere in the immediate area can you buy a brand new house for 60,000 dollars. In fact that barely would make the 20% payment requirements now due to inflation.

    So in essence you're kicking these people on the streets, or they get new houses and work till the day they die and instead of their house going to their kids or grandchildren it gets repossessed and your investement for the enjoyment of your family is gone forever.

    The only way it can be fair compensation is if these people are relocated into a paid off house with sufficient tax breaks on the house as to facilitate the ability to live as before with possibly some money on the side to help with the loss of a treasured property. To not offer that at the minimum should be illegal. The developer could afford it, and there's no reason they can just come along and uproot your entire life and financial future just to build something so they can make money.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:24PM (#12895035)
    At the heart of this case is the extent to which local governments can take property away from lightly taxed properties and give it to for-profit companies who will contribute more to the tax-base.

    In this case, the property is being taken from private homeowners, but real harm will come when the takings are from non-profit organizations. Private homes are taxed at comparable rates to commercial property, so the tax gained from turning the former into the latter is relatively small. Non-profits, however, get low rates of taxation, so the motivation to covert them will be much higher. A conversion even without new construction or sales tax (i.e. a Costco or Walmart) is likely to triple a city's income. Very tempting.

    Some have attempted to muddle what's happening by pointing to party appointments in an effort to conceal the extent to which this is the sort of thing liberals like to do. But that won't wash. The court's liberals went for the measure 100% (Ginsburg and Breyer). The court's conservative's opposed it 100% (Scalia and Thomas, perhaps Rehnquist). Though Kennedy and Souter were appointed by Republicans, conservatives consider them both spineless and traitors. Their appointments represented an effot to appease Democrats and they should be regarded as Democratic appointments.

    The only real surprise was O'Connor, and she's typically a swing vote. Her roots in the Southwest probably make her more inclined to be suspicious of government taking of land.

    So get real folks. This is liberalism at it's rawest--the goverment expanding its power at the expense of ordinary people. J. R. R. Tolkien, who liked his government small and limited, would be outraged. It's exactly the sort of thing Saruman did in the Shire, converting private property into public.

    --Mike Perry Untangling Tolkien

  • Re:Aarghhh. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Moofie ( 22272 ) <lee.ringofsaturn@com> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:24PM (#12895038) Homepage
    That was the exact problem with the Bill of Rights. Some people think that they enumerate ALL the Rights protected by the Constitution, and that's simply not the case.

    If the State can take my home and give it to a developer, without due process, how can anybody be secure? How can that not devolve into tyranny, nepotism, and plutocracy?
  • Pardon, BUT... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by C10H14N2 ( 640033 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:26PM (#12895070)
    This was a constitutional question. The so-called "liberal" judges restrained the issue to whether the local government had abused their power and simply established that, yes, they clearly had the "public good" in mind and were compensating the owners of the property. The fifth amendment guarantees ONLY that you will be compensated for such seizures, NOT that such seizures will not occur and NOT that such seizures must be purely for non-private benefit. The Supreme Court has no business deciding ANYTHING but the constitutional question and that is precisely what was done. Having read the opinion, they did an excellent job of determining that the local government had a well established justification with the public good in mind and that the owners were being compensated ergo it was a constitutionally sound action--thus deferring any further judgment to the appropriate state and local bodies. What, precisely, is improper about that?

    In that sense, these "liberal" judges were being extremely CONSERVATIVE. The so-called "conservatives" were wanting to run rough-shod over the constitution to leap-frog the federal government straight over the state into an issue appropriately handled by local government. THAT would be a "liberal" action in the usual pejorative sense of the term.
  • Re:Aarghhh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by l2718 ( 514756 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:28PM (#12895091)

    I think the dissent has a simple, winning argument: that "public use" should be read literally. They argue that eminent domain should only be used to seize property that will actually be used by the public -- this certainly means public roads and public buildings (schools, courthouses, military facilities), private equivalents under common-carrier requirements (railroads, for example), and potentially also private places open to the public (private roads, sports arenas).

    You may ask "what about using eminent domain to clear urban blight?". This is nicely discussed by Justice Thomas. The power to do this comes from the state police power via so-called "nuisance laws". The logic is that when property is used in ways that harm the public, the public can defent itself by taking the property from its current owner and giving it to someone else. In fact, it is wrong to use the "eminent domain" power as a justification for such laws.

    Regarding "absolute right to private property": Just because the government can legally take away your property doesn't mean you don't have a right to it. For example, the government can ban sedition despite the free speech guarantee of the first amendment, and no-one complains. You certainly have some right to your property, and the question is: how strong is this right? The Constitution struck a balance between government power and your property rights -- they were supposed to only take away your property for "public use". Also, they have to compensate you adequately [though if this was the only point, the Due Process clause would have been enough]. Now this balance has shifted radically, and not by amending the constitution.

  • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:30PM (#12895106) Homepage Journal
    Some rich fucker kicks me out of my house, there's going to be blood spilled. Sorry, my get-along limits stop there.

    Some rich fucker may take your house, my wife took mine with 1 lie.

    Daily I read about courts and how they are unjust. Loosing constitutional rights. I've never had to deal with the courts, so I figured hire a good lawyer and things should be ok. Oh was I wrong.

    2 weeks ago, I'm in the middle of a nasty divorce, my wife called me an abuser, no proof. I was kicked out of my house, ordered to pay for counseling for the children, have to go to eval for being an abuser, and she gets to go to battered women's counseling. She gets 1/2 my pay, and I pay for her lawyer.

    We had people living with us who testified SHE was the abusive one in the relationship. I couldnt believe the male bias I encountered. Male != abuser. I was the one who filed for divorce!

    So, here I am, a working professional, never did anything wrong in my life (well, download an mp3 or 2), and I'm at the mercy of the courts because "For the safety of the children" in the temporary hearings I'm now homeless. Broke from lawyers bills and now have to hire a criminal lawyer on top of it.

    Courts are screwing people over left and right, and this is news? Family court doesn't even have normal oversights, its totally unregulated.

    What's my recourse? Suffer daily or commit suicide. That's what the courts left me with. Suicide rate for divorced men is over 30%, divorce rate is over 50%, and yet, no regulation for fairness for men in family court, no recourse against false allegations.

    I wish I had a constitution blanket, wrap me up and make me feel safe, but thats just lunacy. American men are no longer free, 1 day in court showed me that. Everything I worked for my entire life gone in a day.

    God bless America, men need the miracles.

    -Brook []
  • Re:bush judges (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dictator For Life ( 8829 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:33PM (#12895139) Homepage
    And this proves what? The meaning of "liberal" has changed over the years, too.
  • by Blitzenn ( 554788 ) * on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:36PM (#12895166) Homepage Journal
    This all just smacks to me of what happen during the second world war, or better said what caused it. Instead of physical domination and occupation of a country, we are using economics instead. The outcome however is strikingly similar.

    The Nazi party at the time claimed that it was the Jews that were causing the problems with the country and true Germans not prospering like they were destined to. Now we use the excuse of economics to do the same thing. Instead of Jews we have targetted the poor instead. The rich don't like to look at how the poor have to live. They take up valuable land that could be used better by real Americans to prosper. So we will force them out of their homes and remove the last security these people have, more than likely plunging most into the final throw of complete failure. These are the poor, the poeple who struggle to pay bills because they don't earn enough to cover them. The ones who don't have access to the credit needed to start somewhere else. People who's homes have like equity to begin with and won't be able to take the fair value cash, minus the bank note and start over. It makes me sick to my stomach to see that so many Amercians actually can justify this to themselves. Scarey
  • Re:bush judges (Score:2, Insightful)

    by daveo0331 ( 469843 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:37PM (#12895169) Homepage Journal
    The Republican party is far right on social issues like stem cells, gay marriage,etc. Look up "southern strategy" for more on this. They are NOT economic conservatives. Economic conservatives tend to believe in lower government spending. Economic conservatives do NOT believe in raising spending. Even if you combine the spending increases with tax cuts. Republican economic policy is basically "what's good for General Motors is good for America" except now it's oil companies, defense contractors, RIAA, credit card companies, etc. This Supreme Court ruling is great news if you're a giant corporation. It's also the direct opposite of economic conservatism.
  • Re:Oh yes it is (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PiratePTG ( 608376 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:46PM (#12895257)
    Someone on /. has the sig "There are 4 boxes to use in the defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, ammo. Use in that order."

    I think it's time to put that phrase up on billboards. Because if something isn't done, and soon, to correct the continuing abuses on our (American) freedoms, there will be individuals stepping forward who will reverse that phrase.

    There was once a tea party that the government wasn't invited to... I'm hoping that nobody really thinks that it can't happen again...

  • by benjamindees ( 441808 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:47PM (#12895268) Homepage
    but is rarely used

    Bullshit. It's used all the time nowadays. It'll be used more often now that the supreme court has given carte blanche to poor, despotic local governments to "create jobs" by destroying things.
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:48PM (#12895275)
    this is true.

    It is VERY unfair to judge people by a label. There are PLENTY of conservatives who do not understand what being a conservative means.

    There are plenty of Liberals who do not understand what being a liberal means.

    Unfortunately we judge each other by these lame ass labels. Its a trick created by those in power who wish to keep us dumb and simple.

    The realness of each persons political views is evident in their actions... not their words.

    Conservative/Liberal are just labels... dumb fucking labels that do not mean a thing.

    Does Bad mean good? or bad mean bad today? What do words really mean? The truth is in their actions... VOTE based on their ACTIONS... NOT THEIR WORDS. NOT THE FUCKING MIND GAMES they have created to keep us dumb and simple.

    Check out a 3rd party today! Start a revolution. THIS IS AMERICA!
  • by benjamindees ( 441808 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:50PM (#12895291) Homepage
    therefore this isn't protected

    It's not that it wasn't protected, it's that the concept is so inane as to have been un-heard-of. It's like saying that the right to be free from gang rape isn't protected because it isn't in the Bill of Rights.
  • YES! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:54PM (#12895332) Homepage
    And what are you going to do when Walmart is the one taking your house? Shoot 100K share holders? Or more likely, the rent-a-cop, or the CEO corporate flunky? As long as you're making a blood sacrifice, that will even the books? Are you willing to destroy your family's economic survival to prove a point?

    The answer not just "'s HELL FUCKING YES! If I'm kicked out of my home and property because I'm too "poor" to afford my own investment, then I personally have nothing left to live for. Everyone has their own value on life, and this is mine. It's because of such actions how revolutions are started.
  • by stmfreak ( 230369 ) <> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:56PM (#12895348) Journal

    You're kidding right?

    Owning propery went out the window with the concept of property taxes (aka, RENT payments to the government).

    One lesson to take away from this: When <corporation> comes knocking with an offer to buy, up it a few percentage points and SIGN.

    Another lesson to take away from this: Location, Location, Location. Make sure you build your dream/retirement home some place that sucks.
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:59PM (#12895375)
    Unless you're so blinded by partisan politics that you consider O'Connor, Scalia, Rehnquist, and Thomas to be liberals (well, at least for today), this isn't one of those threads.

    Labels mean nothing. Most people are blinded by partisan politics that they think George Bush is a conservative. He's certainly not liberal, but he definatly is not conservative.

    If anything, he's a liar, power hungry oppurtunist that exploits our laws, and our military for personal wealth.

    A typical rich man, not a typical conservative.

    One of these days the rich real realize that it's the poor that go to war.... and the poor may just point the guns back at the rich.
  • by Skye16 ( 685048 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:59PM (#12895379)
    They may want to consider figuring out that pesky 2nd Amendment thing first. Or invest in a lot of Kevlar.

    Not that I'm advocating violence. But I do know a few "hicks" who take owning their own home very seriously.
  • by jnaujok ( 804613 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @07:00PM (#12895395) Homepage Journal
    Be careful to actually read the amendment in question before commenting. The relevant portion of the fifth amendment is:

    "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

    Note that the framers did not use the ambiguous term "public good" but the term "public use" which is much more well defined. If they take away property, it must be for the use of the public as a whole and not for any small part of it. This ruling basically strikes those three words ("for public use") right off the paper.

    Your entire comment is null and void because you didn't read the Fifth Amendment.
  • Re:Oh yes it is (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrIcee ( 550834 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @07:03PM (#12895429) Homepage
    • Someone on /. has the sig "There are 4 boxes to use in the defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, ammo. Use in that order.

    The fifth box is, of course, "coffin"

  • by Zak3056 ( 69287 ) * on Thursday June 23, 2005 @07:06PM (#12895454) Journal
    It pisses me of when Americans confuse Democrats with liberals.

    It pisses me off when people forget that words mean different things in different places.

  • by iminplaya ( 723125 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @07:06PM (#12895462) Journal
    Inconvenience doesn't superceede my rights.

    According to the ruling, apparently it does. We should understand by now that no matter where you live on the planet, the gov't(not just the U.S.) owns ALL be dispensed as it sees fit. Either live with it, or vote the bums out. Once again, it's up to you and your neighbors.
  • by SirChive ( 229195 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @07:08PM (#12895471)
    Unfortunately, modern Supreme Court rulings have found that the Constitution enumerates what the government CAN do but the Commerce clause of the Constitution allows them to do anything else that they WANT to do.

    Case in point: the recent marijuana ruling. The Supremes cited the Commerce clause when ruling it illegal for a person to grow marijuana on their own property and use it for personal use under a doctor's perscription.

    Oh yes, it takes a special kind of Court to rule that something grown on private property and used on that same private property solely by the owner is governed by the interstate Commerce clause of our Constitution.
  • by |/|/||| ( 179020 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @07:17PM (#12895572)
    That's just the way it goes? Bullshit. No amount of compensation is enough when you don't want to move. If you want my land, you should have to wait until I die. Make inheritance taxes so high that I can't pass it on. Fine.

    Overpopulation is going to make these kinds of problems come up more and more frequently. There's only so much space and so many resources to go around, and we're going to end up choosing between A) living like caged rats or B) making laws that govern population size.

    Option B) may sound invasive, but it's the only sensibe choice as far as I can see. Of course, the path of least resistance is to just keep encroaching on the freedoms and privacy of all of us. Fuck that. I'll resist until the end. I'll probably end up getting shot by a robot for not leaving my land when some corporation wants to build a megabuilding there. No amount of compensation is going to entice me to leave my nice quiet retirement. Money has very little value when you just want to sit out on your porch and stare at the trees all day.

    Think it's unfair for one person to "hog" a few hundred acres? How about 2 square meters? We'd all have plenty of room and plenty of resources if we could control the birth rate, but as it is we're spiralling down the path toward transforming the entire planet into a machine that supports the lives of billions of humans with very little freedom. Maybe those future people won't mind, but that's because they won't know any better. I do know better, and goddamn it I'm all for a 1 child per couple law. Once our population gets down to a reasonable level, (I'll leave that number up for debate) we can adjust the child limit to level out the population size. Sure it would cause economic problems, but we're going to have to deal with those one of these days no matter what.

    Er, end of rant.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, 2005 @07:17PM (#12895575)
    I doubt it.

    Alot of times, these eminent domain issues only affect small numbers of people - to avoid the costs of buying property and to avoid stepping on two many people's toes. Its not like this ruling all of the sudden will give the local government a blank check to bulldoze over their entire voting base - they know the consequences.

    Basically, this will just reenforce populism. Ford wants to build a new plant in the town of 30,000? Well, there are about 50 homes in the way. All of the residents of the 50 homes can pack the town hall (Anytime there is a contentious eminent domain issue, there is almost always penty of civic activism on both sides), but representatives from Ford say the new plant, if built, will bring to the town 2,000 new jobs. Jobs and money speak more than just about anything these days. Who do you think is going to win out? Obviously not the 50 homeowners. Too bad for them.

    For this issue to be resolved in the favor of these 50 homeowners and others who may be affected somewhere else, the state constitution (or laws) will have to be changed to reflect the doctorine on eminent domain in that state.
  • by Belgand ( 14099 ) <belgand@planetfD ... com minus distro> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @07:22PM (#12895623) Homepage
    Don't you yanks all swear to uphold and protect the constitution, so help you god?

    Not one bit. I'm only willing to uphold and protect my own rational self-interest and there's no way you'd get me to swear to do even that. Especially not on that "under god" bit seeing as I'm an atheist. Even better is that the very statement itself is paradoxical as the Constitution would include the freedom from the imposition of a state religion... that will be protected by my religious adherence.

    Don't you have the right to protect against home invasion?

    Again, no. You have the right to attempt to protect yourself and then be sued by the invader for damages both physical and psychological. By the time you're done you'll have been robbed both by the robber himself as well as the courts and the lawyers.
  • Re:bush judges (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Corbin Dallas ( 165835 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @07:32PM (#12895697) Homepage
    • "I was a conservative. Then they changed what `conservative' was. Now what I am isn't conservative, and what is `conservative' seems weird and scary to me. It'll happen to you!"

      • And this proves what?

    Apparently it proves that not everyone appreciates a good play on a Simpsons quote [].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, 2005 @07:35PM (#12895727)
    Why, so that they can worry about re-election?
    Pander to their constituencies for votes, instead of choosing the right thing without regard for popularity?
  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @07:42PM (#12895802) Homepage Journal

    The rich have won.

    They certainly won the battle. Of course, if the trend continues, just like in societies past, eventually it'll escalate into a shooting war.

  • by ovit ( 246181 ) <> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @07:43PM (#12895807) Homepage
    When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

    He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

    He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

    He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

    He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

    He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

    He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

    He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

    He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

    He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

    He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

    He has affected to rende
  • Re:bush judges (Score:2, Insightful)

    by deanoaz ( 843940 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @07:47PM (#12895841)
    The 'status quo' was that it was improper for government to take anyone's private property unless it was for public use. They got away with doing it in some cases (at the behest of Donald Trump, etc) because victims, and even their lawyers, were not aware of how to fight it correctly.

    Now, the new status quo is going to be that there is no such limitation and everyone will be a potential victim regardless of how well they know their rights or whether they can find good, well informed, representation.

    This is not a good thing.

    Your position sounds similar to me to saying, 'Since poor people are often victims of crime because they live in bad neighborhoods, instead of trying to prevent that from happening, lets make it easier for people in all neighborhoods to become crime victims so that it balances out.'

    "True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information." - Winston Churchill
  • by ExoticMandibles ( 582264 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @07:58PM (#12895930)
    That destroys the concept of "property". Property is something which is yours to do with as you please. A house under your suggested system would be your "property" as long as the government didn't force you to sell it to somebody else.

    Got an ancestral home that you'd never willingly sell? Too bad! You can't afford to keep it, if someone else with more money than you has their eye on it.

    Housing prices in your area are shooting through the roof? Doesn't matter if you're on a fixed income--you better run down to City Hall so you can get in line to pay more taxes!

    I think your statement "they're [...] screwing the city out of a lot of property taxes" is quite telling. You seem to believe that the government has a God-given right to take someone's money by force. Well, heck! If your primary goal is to make this institutionalized robbery more efficient, I can suggest lots of simpler approaches. Granted, they probably wouldn't have the faint sheen of fairness and respectability that your proposal carries, but the principle would be exactly the same.


  • Re:Ford (Score:3, Insightful)

    by soft_guy ( 534437 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @08:00PM (#12895942)
    Actually the difference between conservative and liberal seems to be how you want to pay for big government. Liberals want to pay for it with taxes. Conservatives want to just borrow the money.
  • by Jay Carlson ( 28733 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @08:05PM (#12895984)
    And that creates a new way around California's Proposition 13 (which keeps them from raising property taxes on your house and land until it sells).

    Perhaps that might be suggesting to you that there might be something just a teensy bit wrong with Prop 13. If selling a property to yourself would jack up the actual cost of occupying it by say a factor of four, rational economic thought would seem to indicate that our state government is not really interested in creating a free market.

    Prop 13 attempts to create a new landed class that has special economic privileges based on a) length of time in California and b) how long you're bonded to some piece of turf. Grow your hair and shout "LOCALS ONLY, DUDE" at the weirdos who might have some good reason to have to live near you. And then beat them up; when's the last time you heard "locals only" and didn't see a cocked fist a few seconds away?

    Worse, Prop 13 provides a highly inequitable safety valve for the problem of "teachers can't afford to live in their own school district". You've got a tiny number of service workers who've been here since dirt, and are effectively living in rent-controlled apartments. There may be a bunch of smart, talented people who came from Utah or Oregon or something. They may be better at teaching your kids to actually THINK. But because they didn't show up here 20 years ago, their cost of living in your school district is much higher than the people who had the blind luck to be born here and get a mortgage on a house way back then.

    We'd be better off figuring out how to either pay service workers better or to build some kind of desirable housing that rewards physical mobility to places where talent is needed.
  • Re:pwn3d (Score:4, Insightful)

    by osgeek ( 239988 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @08:11PM (#12896020) Homepage Journal
    Ummm... take it back? The most conservative of the Supremes were the ones who voted AGAINST the municipality. Maybe you didn't read the article?

    "Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random," O'Connor wrote. "The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms." She was joined in her opinion by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, as well as Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
  • Re:Pardon, BUT... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dirtside ( 91468 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @08:14PM (#12896045) Journal
    The fifth amendment guarantees ONLY that you will be compensated for such seizures, NOT that such seizures will not occur and NOT that such seizures must be purely for non-private benefit.
    What?? The 5th Amendment says:
    nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
    Emphasis added. You might argue that it says nothing about taking private property for private use, but I would argue that such action is so against the very principles of private property that it needn't have been enumerated.

    The argument here is whether seizing your private property and giving it to another private entity qualifies as "public use" because that person will pay more taxes than you. I certainly don't think it does; four Supreme Court justices agree. Unfortunately, it should have been at least five.

    This is a terrible decision. Alas, there's no higher court; the only hope (short of eventual bloody revolution) is that another similar case comes along and SCOTUS reverses itself. Which is so unlikely as to be laughable. Bloody revolution, here we come!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, 2005 @08:17PM (#12896067)
    Brook, its not just men that get the shaft in the courts.

    My husband was arrested for abuse. But he had the audacity (and knowledge) to go into court and cry real tears as he claimed I was an alcoholic, neglected the children, and slept around. He said I made false charges of abuse against him when he tried to get me treatment.

    All the judge had to do was read the police report to see he was lying. I didn't drink then, and I don't drink now. I was a hard working, devoted wife and mother. I arrived with a stack of documents and several witnesses willing to testify to those facts. But the judge waived me off, and my husband's lie against me resulted in much the same deal you experienced. Over my frantic objections the judge gave him our house, our business, all of our assets, custody of our children, and all of my personal possessions. I was told to "dry out" and she'd take another look at the case.

    After 25 years of working 80 hour weeks (through pregnancies and nursing babies) and doing without so many things I wanted, in order to insure financial security for my family - I left that courtroom with $12 in my pocket, no job and nowhere to live. The ONLY thing I got that day was child support imputed based on the TOTAL income of our business - something that took me over a dozen years to build up. I could not make a fraction of that on my own.

    The court appointed shrink took a look at my evidence and heard my witnesses. By the third appointment she wrote out a letter saying the court had made a terrible mistake... but by the time I got another hearing TWO YEARS LATER the kids had been seriously abused and everything I owned was gone. He sold it all off and hid the cash. NOTHING was left but a bunch of dysfunctional, angry teenagers.

    I know EXACTLY how you feel, but please, don't think its just MEN. I'm very much female. Our courts SUCK. There's no other word for it. Judges are political hacks that make fast, uninformed decisions based more on prejudice than evidence. Go sit outside family court one day and look at all the people crying, their lives devistated by one stroke of the gavel. They aren't all male.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 23, 2005 @08:22PM (#12896106)
    Funny enough, the dissenting judges appear to mostly be conservative in nature from what I've read of their rulings.

    If I understand the process correctly (sorry I'm not USian) there are usually TWO opinions offered following a supreme court ruling. The senior justice who voted for the ruling writes the concurring opinion. The senior judge who voted against the ruling writes the dissenting opinion.

    Suppose, hypothetically you had two parties (lets call them the Liars and the Thieves) who controlled the appointments to the SC. Of the nine seats, through various machinations, lets suppose the Liars appointed seven including the two most senior justices.

    Suppose, again hypothetically, that 6 of those 7 vote as a block and the most senior justice always votes against the block? The end result is that the Liars would always win AND would always get to write BOTH opinions.

    Naturally such an act is strictly hypothetical. Since the justices are supposed to be non-partisan, engaging in such behaviour would certainly be unconstitutional and could be argued to be an act of high treason. So you can be absolutely confident that your president and SC judges would never, ever do such a thing and any resemblance to to oherwise inexplicable voting patterns would just be a coincidence.
  • by atomm1024 ( 570507 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @08:31PM (#12896170)
    ewithrow didn't say anything about Democrats or Republicans, just rich and poor. There are rich Democrats and poor Republicans, and vice versa.

    And obviously, the "people who dealt this wonderful winning blow" were not "the very democrats who griped about it all along." Those were most likely other Democrats, not the two on the Supreme Court.

    "Get your facts straight," eh?

  • Re:Pardon, BUT... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by paanta ( 640245 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @08:38PM (#12896216) Homepage
    The first thing I learned in my land-use law class is this: Your right to personal property is derived from the state. You don't have some sort of fundamental right to a given piece of land. All the constitution says (well, as interpreted in recent times) is that they have to pay you before they take something away. All that stuff (life, libery, property..) is just lip service.

    There's plenty of precident for this in state supreme courts. Here in Michigan we had this case back in the early 1980's (Poletown vs. City of Detroit) where the state court ruled that it was valid for the city to condemn land and sell it to GM for them to build an auto plant. There have been other cases like this in other states.

    This decision doesn't surprise me in the least, and I think it's reasonable that local governments be given the benefit of the doubt here, simply because of the very local nature of the redevelopment process.

    That doesn't mean I think that the city of New London is doing the right thing. I just think they're doing the _legal_ thing. I think they're assholes.

  • Re:bush judges (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <`gro.uaeb' `ta' `sirromj'> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @08:59PM (#12896363)
    > This Supreme Court ruling is great news if you're a giant corporation.
    > It's also the direct opposite of economic conservatism.

    Which is exactly why the 'progressives' on the court voted in favor of allowing government to exceed it's constituitional bounds yet again and why a too small by one minority of conservatives voted against yet another unlawful expansion of government power. Go read the list of who voted for and against. O'Conner was notable for being on the right side for a change.

    In reality the only reliable defenders of the Rule of Law and the Constituition are Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas. Even though several of the others were appointed by Republican Presidents they were either appointed during times when Democrats were in control of Congress or by non-conservative Republicans.
  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @09:03PM (#12896384)
    Yeah, but eminent domain just says the government can take it. It doesn't say it can give it to the railroads (or Wal-Mart). That's what the parent poster was talking about.
  • Re:liberals (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fingusernames ( 695699 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @09:11PM (#12896442) Homepage
    Back when liberal meant defender of liberty. The modern, statist Democratic party, which would happily erase the entire enumerated powers aspect of Article II of the United States Constitution and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, has painfully little in common with those Founding Fathers. The Bill of Rights is not the US Constitution, it's merely a backstop against the fears that our government would do precisely what it has done, find unlimited government power within a document written specifically to limit the power of government.

    Not that the Republicans are any better, but at least a strict constructionist reading of the US Constitution would prevent atrocities like what happened today. 20th century "liberals" hate strict construction, because they don't want to go through the hoops involved in actually amending our Constitution. They would rather have judges grant "good" powers to the government by fiat, or by the horrid doctrine of utter legislative deference (except of course when the Bill of Rights and other special rights (14th) are concerned -- minus the Takings Clause, the Second Amendment, and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments). Heaven forbid we actually treat our Constitution like law, and actually go through the process of getting 3/4 of the states to approve handing more and more power to the Congress and President.

  • by ShatteredDream ( 636520 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @09:13PM (#12896451) Homepage
    Oh, sorry. I forgot. All of Clinton's appointees are religious right fanatics. Thanks for reminding me.
  • Re:Soviet America (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xyrus ( 755017 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @09:15PM (#12896459) Journal
    Not Soviet, Fascist.

    In Fascist America, Corporations own you!

  • Re:bush judges (Score:3, Insightful)

    by monkeydo ( 173558 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @09:18PM (#12896494) Homepage
    It isn't really fair to say that the conservative judges would oppose emminent domain for any reason. Emminent domain is preserved in the Constitution, but it is very likely that the "conservative" justices would construe it more narrowly.
  • Re:bush judges (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Alan Hicks ( 660661 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @09:45PM (#12896665) Homepage

    I don't post here often but I heard about this this morning and saw there was a /. article, so I read it. As for replying, I can't resist tearing your argument apart in public.

    in this case the poor saps had million dollar homes that had refused for years to redevelop their properties

    What exactly is wrong with not "redeveloping" your property? What gives you the right to tell some one to renovate their home if it's up to code? Why should some one be forced to "improve" their home, and who is the judge of what exactly qualifies as an "improvement"?

    this has been allowed for blighted areas for years, so now it is happening to people that are "rich". i say its about time

    Now we get to the heart of this: class warfare. "Oh my God those people have way more money than me; they are evil! You should all just give your money away to the poor because they aren't as well off as you! I'm jealous of your money and because I can't have it you shouldn't either! Those are the feelings behind arguments like yours. For your information, this ruling affects everyone, rich and poor alike. And one other thing. Just because some one has more money than you damn sure don't make them less than you, nor does it make them evil. There's a helluvalot of filthy rich people in this world who are good people, who worked hard for their money and worked themselves up from the bottom of the economic food chain.

    the new uses will improve tax revenue for the city greatly which is good for everyone

    Whether that's good for everyone is debatable, but it damn sure ain't good for the people whom are being evicted from their homes. Put yourself in their shoes. If some one came to you, wanted to pay you a quarter for your home, and when you didn't pay up the county forced you to sell it for twenty-five cents you'd damn sure be squeeling like a stuck hog! It's high time people like yourself grew up and realized this ain't an us-vs-them problem here. This effects all Americans, rich, poor, or inbetween.

    if these homes were ghetto/minority then nobody would have brought suit and the land would have been razed years ago for redevlopment

    I'm calling bullshit here. If anyone living in the "ghetto" was in this position there are plenty of lawyers who would take this case pro bono to make a name for themselves, twice as many if this was a minority. And here's another thing for you to wrap your pea brain around. How many minorities are specifically affected by this case? I bet you don't even know. You just blindly assume this is only "rich white people".

    Honestly, how did some one with so little common sense manage to get online?

    P.S. Learn to use capital letters!

  • Re:bush judges (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stinerman ( 812158 ) < minus bsd> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @09:49PM (#12896685) Homepage
    I'll give you Thomas and Rehnquist, but not Scalia. He sided with the majority regarding medical marijuana, obviously a states' rights issue.
  • Re:Ford (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @09:59PM (#12896748) Homepage
    The term "liberal" has a confusing history, the term "conservative" only slightly less so. For the most part, however, their positions have moved largely based on the interests of the most powerful.

    At one time, a strong centralized government helped the wealthy and powerful, and a weak government usually helped the poorer majority. The right has historically chosen policies that helped the elite - and not always for nepharious purposes, as they often believed that the most powerful were the most virtuous and moral, and responsible for universal uplift. The conservatives still hold this view: they just see the public sector as a hindrance to the group for whom they advocate.
  • by ebooher ( 187230 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @10:04PM (#12896792) Homepage Journal

    "Why waste your mod points on "All your base . . ." jokes? I mean, come on,"

    While I agree that "All your ${BASE} belong ..." jokes have become very cliche, there is a point about humor to cover the impact of bad news. I believe Lewis Black said it best:

    "America has lost it's God Damned mind ... this country as it does everytime it comes down to war completely loses it's sense of humor. When we do that we become dangerously close to what we hate about our enemies."

    Laugh, Life's a joke.

  • Re:bush judges (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bombadillo ( 706765 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @10:10PM (#12896828)
    "Neo-Conservative", falling away from the traditional budget hawk positions to a Nationalistic "protect the citizens at all costs"

    I would say that Neo-Cons are more woried about Empire than protecting it's citizens. It's really a read herring to say that they are strong on Defence. Our military is by far the most powerful in the world even under the post cold war restructuring under Bush Sr. and Clienton. This ruling is actually a victory for the Neo-Cons. The Neo-Con movement seemed to grow out of the Nixonian period. Remember that Bush Sr. and Rummy were close to Nixon. I personally would not be suprised if the Republican party eventually has a schism between the Conservatives and the Neo-cons.
  • Re:bush judges (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Ying Hu ( 704950 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @10:22PM (#12896881)
    You're right accept for the fact that it's not generally going to happen to rich people, only to poor and middle-class ones. The rich are well-connected enough that a local politician won't dare raze that home, plus such economic projects aren't going to be put up in areas where there are a number of rich homes, and they are found clumped together just as are poorer ones. Legally it could affect any American; in reality, it'll be the rich guy bull-dozing the normal person's house whether they agree or not. (If they want the mall that much, why don't they just pony up and pay the hold-out's price - that's what supply and demand is).
  • Re:bush judges (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rworne ( 538610 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @10:43PM (#12897024) Homepage
    Thank you for that fine assessment.

    Lucky for me, the "other party" has a stranglehold on my blue state and voting Republican would be pissing my vote away as well as leaving me feeling rather disgusted. I was pleased that since my state's electoral votes were never in jeopardy (guaranteed Gore/Kerry state) I could afford to toss my vote over to a well-deserving 3rd party where it would be appreciated and make a difference by boosting their ranks - even though it would not affect the election outcome.
  • by darkharlequin ( 1923 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @10:52PM (#12897064) Homepage Journal
    to act politically when you are working 1 job at walmart to pay for child care, and another job at the 7-11 to pay for gas, rent, and medicine for your kid who is sick from being in daycare? Most of the people for whom this is a problem work so hard they don't have any time for political action.
  • by slashdot_commentator ( 444053 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @10:52PM (#12897065) Journal
    People are just too lazy & apathetic now, unless it is directly affecting them.

    Don't forget stupid, ignorant, materialistic, and following a slave mentality. This is a country that loves to tote guns. But if enough of them are stupid enough to beleive the gov't is protecting them, and allow them to violate the Constitution, this is the result. Before you spit on politician, make sure you save some saliva for the citizen.

  • "The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few, or one."

    The needs of the many may or may not outweigh (for however you want to quantify that) the needs of the few or the one... but that's irrelevant. The *rights* of the individual are inviolable (or at least should be) period. Let the individuals that make up "the many" figure out how to solve their own problems without infringing on the rights of others who are not party to their situation.

    And for those in "the many" just realize that "the many" is simply an abstraction and not a real entity... and it's membership can change at anytime. So while you defend socialistic policies today because you benefit from them, realize that tomorrow you could be the one getting fucked in the name of "the many."

  • Not if (Score:2, Insightful)

    by chadseld ( 761331 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:03PM (#12897116)
    Not if the rich ban guns.
    There is a reason for the 2nd amendment.
    There is a reason why socialists want the 2nd amendment appealed.
  • Re:bush judges (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JWW ( 79176 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:32PM (#12897292)
    You make a good point about how these people may be richer than others who have been affected by immenent domain before, but the people trying to get them off their land are even richer and more than they are.

    Don't cheer for the super rich just because they're going after the moderately rich. Emminent domain property being handed out to private parties, is unbelievably bad. How long will it be before personal vendettas are used by city or county commissions to take away the land of some one they just don't like, or from a political enemy.

  • by Brandybuck ( 704397 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:33PM (#12897304) Homepage Journal
    Needless to say, the little guy loses to the commercial developer this case...

    We didn't lose to the commercial developer, we lost to the fucking government! Maybe if we hadn't spent so much time worrying about Evil Business, we might have noticed that our government was reaching critical mass.

    Business isn't the problem. Business don't have the power of eminent domain. Business don't have police and armies. And most of all, businesses don't have court systems arbitrarily deciding to take away the unalienable and natural rights you were born with. Only government does that.

    Business didn't do this, the fucking government did this. And it wasn't the federal government that started it either, but some pissant little city council with too much time on their hands. For all your bitching about Bush or Kerry you never noticed that all the real tyrants in the US are your neighbors on the city council.

    Yes, there are many businesses that lobby and court the government. But don't blame the addict, blame the pusher. Political power wouldn't be for sale if the government didn't put it up for auction to the highest bidder.

    We're screwed now. This is a SCOTUS ruling. There's no one we can appeal this do. The only option we have to get our rights and property back is another revolution. The problem is that no one else but me cares. As long as the stop the Home Depot from building on the empty lot down the street, you guys will let the local government do whatever the fuck they want.

    Emigrating to Iraq or Afghanistan is starting to look better and better. At least they have a future.
  • by alex_guy_CA ( 748887 ) <> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @11:45PM (#12897373) Homepage
    Who is taking money from our children and grandchildren in the form of massive deficit spending? Is it a liberal? No! It's W! Who is giving huge tax breaks to the rich, and to nobody else (thus, in your words "taking money from these people and giving it to someone else?" Is it our liberal president? No! It's W!
  • Re:bush judges (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:26AM (#12897601) Homepage Journal
    victory for states rights

    Over the people.

    This is the opposite of what the founders intended. The court has recently, consistantly been ruling:

    Federal Government > State Government > The People

    It should be:

    The People > The State Governments > The Federal Government
  • Re:bush judges (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tassach ( 137772 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:59AM (#12897764)
    Scalia, Rehnquist, and Thomas the defenders of the Rule of Law? Don't make me laugh. Those three have proven themselves time and again to be anything but that.

    Exactly which "rule of law" were they defending in their dissent to Rasul v. Bush [], where they wiped their asses with the Fifth Amendment?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:36AM (#12897904)
    #1) don't kill your self. Listen, what you did sucks but they cant kill you for it, and your not gonna die from it. so don't kill your self

    #2) declare bankruptcy. Do it now, because the law changes in a few months. They cant go after you if you are bankrupt.

    #3) when you go into court tell the judge the situation. Tell them you declared bankruptcy and your really trying to put your life back together. that you made a stupid mistake that you learned from it and you want to get back to living your life

    Most judges will give you a second chance.. the whole thing is you CANT give UP.
  • by bjason82 ( 820735 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @02:19AM (#12898061)
    j1m+5n0w, you are correct and conservatives still hold those values. I think where people get confused is they automatically associate conservative with republican, which is no longer the case. The differences between republicans and democrats are getting fewer and fewer. Contrasting, one party is more militant and the other is apologetic. One party supports a few conservative christian values, only as long as it suits their agenda and keeps them in power, whereas the other party is honest about their views and supports no conservative christian values whatsoever. When money becomes your god it really doesn't matter where you stand politically... I guess that's the NEW American way.
  • There's no question that many Americans are so overworked that civic activism is not really feasible. Perhaps this was all planned by particular politicians? The work (or lack of work) of politicians has a lot more to do with how the economy works that I think most people realize.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 24, 2005 @08:47AM (#12899485)
    Well I did it, wrote letters to my two Senators, my Governor and my state representative. Signed my name with a pen and will send them certified mail this morning. In this age of phone calls, E-mail, chat and text messaging hoping that a good old fashioned form of communication gets noticed. My anger goes beyond political ideologies. Common sense and decency has been violated the 5th Ammendment has been raped. My mother lives on a "fixed income" in California her taxes are locked in by Prop. 13. What is to stop cash strapped California from declaring Emmient Domain, kicking her out of the house then putting it up for sale so some one can move in at the new tax rate. Because at 77 years she wasn't paying her fair share of taxes. Be afraid, very afraid... I know I am.
  • Re:bush judges (Score:3, Insightful)

    by berzerke ( 319205 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @09:41AM (#12899962) Homepage

    ...It just keeps moving up. This is why I'm pissed at government right now, because they keep trying this sort of stuff, and the courts keep ruling for them, sooner or later...

    And enough voters just sit around and let those who do this get re-elected. Politicians, like diapers, have to be changed frequently - and for the very same reason.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!