On Kelo & Souter

30 Jun

I haven’t posted about Kelo because it merely re-states hundreds of years worth of Supreme Court jurisprudence.

My knee-jerk reaction about Kelo was also negative. But then I read the decision.

In the meantime, most people I’ve read have been laughing with ironic retributitive hilarity at the idea that someone wants to go take Souter’s house to build a hotel with an ironic name, because that’ll show him.

I disagree. I don’t think it’s fun or funny to retaliate against Supreme Court Justices for adhering to their understanding of what the law is. I also disagree with it because it ignores the fact that four other Justices necessarily voted with him – Stevens wrote the majority opinion – so singling Souter out seems rather silly.

I think Souter was singled out by the Randian prankster because Souter wrote the decision on the unrelated Kentucky 10 Commandments Case.

People need to make up their mind: do they or don’t they want an activist court? Because with Kelo, the court defers to the local legislature on the issues dealing with the justifiability of the taking. Had the court gone against the determination of the local authorities, it would be tantamount to judicial legislation or veto; activism, no?

It might all be a joke, which I hope it is. But to me it seems that the real opponents of Kelo might be better served directing their energies toward changing the law of the land through persuasion and legislation, rather than inflicting cruelty on a guy who’s just doing his job.

Notice that not one person heh-ing and indeed-ing the proposed retaliation against Souter has actually addressed the text and reasoning of the decision itself. Just the outcome.

Furthermore, based on Kelo’s own reasoning, a retaliatory government taking of Souter’s home wouldn’t pass muster.

It is further argued that without a bright-line rule nothing would stop a city from transferring citizen A’s property to citizen B for the sole reason that citizen B will put the property to a more productive use and thus pay more taxes. Such a one-to-one transfer of property, executed outside the confines of an integrated development plan, is not presented in this case. While such an unusual exercise of government power would certainly raise a suspicion that a private purpose was afoot, the hypothetical cases posited by petitioners can be confronted if and when they arise. They do not warrant the crafting of an artificial restriction on the concept of public use.

If public officials are doing their jobs in good faith, they shouldn’t be retaliated against by vindictive vigilantes.

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