"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

An Individual's Rights, Ripe For The Liberal Taking

Where are the human shields when you need them? If ever there was a need to throw yourself in front of a bulldozer to protest government action, this is the time and New London, CT is the place.

You would think liberal groups would be out in force protesting now that the Supreme Court has ruled the City of New London can bulldoze privately owned homes to build a privately owned hotel and office. Nope, the usual suspects are not in solidarity with the “little guys” in Fort Trumbull. Why? In a word – taxes! As long as the government will be getting more taxes, who cares?

Now on the other hand:

If the Fort Trumbull families had been members of an endangered animal species, their homes might have been spared. Had New London tried to bulldoze bog-turtle habitat, liberal judges likely would have blocked it.
Liberal groups would have been on the warpath and liberal judges would have stopped the bulldozers had animals been involved. Kelo vs. City of New London only involved a few Americans and therefore, it’s not a worthy cause for liberal protestors. So what if people lose their homes, it's all for the greater good.

Conservatives really have their priorities backwards, don’t they? Just read Michael Kinsley’s article Activism, Ripe for The Takings. Among other absurdities, Kinsley explains how the Supreme Court’s liberal judges in the Kelo case thwarted a conservative brand of judicial activism.

But it would be fair to say that the takings clause is the conservatives' recipe for judicial activism -- imposing their agenda through the courts rather than bothering with democracy.

The Supreme Court has clung pretty tightly to literalism and declined repeated invitations to use the takings clause like a scythe to cut the government down to size.
Here are the words from the 5th Amendment Kinsley believes the Supreme Court has interpreted literally.

"No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."
Tell that to 87 year-old Gertrude Campbell, forced out of her home of 47 years via eminent domain by the city of Trenton. Her just compensation - $20,000 for a home that the city had assessed at $33,000 for property tax purposes. Campbell’s property was turned over to a private developer.

Explain the democratic principle upheld by the court to 84 year-old Alberta Thompson who was forced out of the Trenton home where she raised nine children and lived for 49 years. Her just compensation, less than she and her husband paid for the house in 1957.

"I thought it was my house," Gertrude Campbell said while standing in her former doorway just a few days before her move. "I thought that when you keep it up, it's yours. But I guess not - when they want it."
The term “public use” now means “private use” and just compensation is meaningless. Eminent domain and just compensation were at the heart of one of the many McGreevey scandals. Democrat fund- raiser David D'Amiano admitted extorting $40,000 in cash and political donations from a Piscataway farmer in exchange for “just compensation” for his property in a government taking case. McGreevey used the code word “Machiavelli" as part of the political payoff scheme, how appropriate.

Based upon the Kelo decision, the government now has the “right” to take your home or business and turn it over to someone else. That’s what we would call judicial activism and that’s what’s at stake with the appointment of judges. Keep the Kelo case in mind when you hear liberals scream a conservative judge is “out of the mainstream”. Remember these families when you vote:

The Ciavaglia family moved from Italy to New London's Fort Trumbull neighborhood in the 1880s. In 1901, they purchased the house, where, in 1918, Wilhelmina Ciavaglia was born. In 1945, Wilhelmina married Charles Dery, and for 60 years the couple has lived in that home.

Their son Matthew lives next-door with his wife, Sue, and son, Andrew. Their home was given to Matthew as a wedding present by his grandmother. "Before they were married, the younger Dery couple gutted the building and rebuilt it, hand-routing and sanding every piece of woodwork themselves.”

Susette Kelo lives nearby, in an old Victorian she bought in 1997 and renovated. Her porch overlooks the Thames River -- a vista she loves and shares with her husband, Tim, who was disabled in a 2002 car accident."
Conservatives believe individuals have rights and that those rights must be protected from the tyranny of the majority and the government. Liberals believe in their vision of the greater good at any cost, even at the expense of an individual's rights.

Book us some rooms at the Lost Liberty Hotel, we just might need a place to stay.


At 6:05 AM, Blogger Ken Adams said...


This is one of your best posts ever. Don't ever stop writing!

At 9:28 AM, Blogger Sluggo said...

Great post, Enj. I'm just curious, because I haven't seen it addressed elsewhere. When the state takes a property, do they assume any mortgage? Or is the victim still responsible for that?

At 9:59 AM, Blogger Enlighten said...

Thanks guys. Good question Sluggo. It's the real estate transfer tax that really seems over the top.

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