Property Rights

Connecticut Supreme Court Justice to Susette Kelo: "I'm Sorry"

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A hell of a story from The Hartford Courant's Jeff Benedict, who was present for an extraordinary encounter between Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Richard N. Palmer and Susette Kelo, the homeowner he once voted against in the infamous eminent domain case:

I had delivered the keynote address [at the New Haven Law Club] on the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous 5-4 decision in Kelo v. New London. Susette Kelo was in the audience and I used the occasion to tell her personal story, as documented in my book "Little Pink House."

Afterward, Susette and I were talking in a small circle of people when we were approached by Justice Richard N. Palmer. Tall and imposing, he is one of the four justices who voted with the 4-3 majority against Susette and her neighbors. Facing me, he said: "Had I known all of what you just told us, I would have voted differently."

I was speechless. So was Susette. One more vote in her favor by the Connecticut Supreme Court would have changed history. The case probably would not have advanced to the U.S. Supreme Court, and Susette and her neighbors might still be in their homes.

Then Justice Palmer turned to Susette, took her hand and offered a heartfelt apology. Tears trickled down her red cheeks. It was the first time in the 12-year saga that anyone had uttered the words "I'm sorry."

Palmer should be sorry. So should U.S. Supreme Court Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, David Souter, and Anthony Kennedy, whose five votes upheld Palmer's erroneous judgment and put the final nail in the coffin.

(Thanks to How Appealing for the link.)

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  1. She should have kicked him in the balls.

    1. And then apologized for it.

  2. “Had I known all of what you just told us, I would have voted differently.”

    What, did someone read the Constitution to him?

    1. The state constitution?

    2. Sounds like he didn’t make his decision based on the law.

    3. You mean that piece of paper that judges routinely ignore in their quest to bestow ever more unlawful power on the government they themselves are an integral part of?

  3. Yeah. Then she could wait 12 years to give him an apology.

  4. As an optimist regarding human nature, I think its great that a public official can come to understand that he was wrong, admit it publicly, and apologize to the people he harmed. It is a beautiful affirmation of a man’s potential for redemption.

    But on the other hand, fuck that guy.

    1. You owe me a new keyboard. Mine is soaked in whiskey and sprite.

      And I agree, screw him!!

  5. “Those comments,” he wrote, “were predicated on certain facts that we did not know (and could not have known) at the time of our decision and of which I was not fully aware until your talk ? namely, that the city’s development plan had never materialized and, as a result, years later, the land at issue remains barren and wholly undeveloped.” He later added that he could not know of those facts “because they were not yet in existence.”

    Or, you know, you could have read the fucking 5th Amendment.

    I award 5 points for recognizing and admitting fault.

    1. Yeah, but they can’t figure out what public use means.

      1. I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t mean “private use that might get the gubmint more dough.”

        1. You, I, most of everyone else may think that. I’m don’t think many judges have figured that out.

      2. As a state supreme court justice, he was constrained in his interpretation of the 5th amendment by what the US supreme court had decided previously. unfortunately for all of us, there was a lot of precedent for treating “public use” as if it read “public purpose”. I’m totally against the Kelo vs New London decision, but the fault was with the US supreme court, which does have the power to overturn precedent, not with the state supreme court. (I’m not sure if the Connecticut constitution has different language the state supremes could have used to block this–if so, it’s their fault too).

    2. He admits that if the state steals your home and gives it to walmart, or a basketball team, then that’s okay. But, if it goes to waste he’ll cwy a wittle tear for you.

      Fucking private property , how does it work?

    3. I have even less respect for this consequentialist fuck.

    4. “I do recall telling Susette I was sorry,” he wrote. “But I was expressing my regret for what she had gone through. I would not want the reader to think that I was apologizing for my vote, which I was not doing.”

      I withdraw my awarding of points and instead subtract 100 points.

      You, sir, are a fraud.

      1. He’s a judge, that means he thinks his shit doesn’t stink.

        When he says “voted” he probably means like in a voting booth, not in a judge’s chambers. I don’t believe he thinks his decision was wrong, I think he regrets voting for certain politicians who basically lied about having actual plans. Instead, he would have voted for politicians who had concrete plans for someone else’s property.

        He is taking no responsibility whatsoever.

        1. Who cares what their plans were? There is no constitutional empowerment for the taking of private property in order to give it to another private individual or enterprise. He could have tried reading the constitution. Of course that would have meant digging the damn thing out of the wastebasket.

  6. Is he sorry because he now realizes the injustice of the situation and that eminent domain abuse is endemic or because the emotional content of Kelo’s situation in particular gave him a sad face?

    1. Nah, he says he apologized for what she went through. He says he still voted the correct way based on the information he had and was really insistent that people understand that he votes based on the law, and not emotion.

      I don’t really buy it, but that’s apparently what he claims.

      1. It’s sort of like the car thief coming back to your house and claiming that they’re really sorry for stealing your car, but only because they couldn’t fence it and didn’t know at the time that it was too hot to fence.

        1. That’s a pretty fucking good analogy for this one.

        2. ‘Bout sums it up AC.

        3. “I do recall telling Susette I was sorry,” he wrote. “But I was expressing my regret that she had to walk to work. I would not want the reader to think that I was apologizing for stealing her car, which I was not doing.”

    2. Looks like I have my answer:

      “I do recall telling Susette I was sorry,” he wrote. “But I was expressing my regret for what she had gone through. I would not want the reader to think that I was apologizing for my vote, which I was not doing.”

  7. They’re using her property as a dump for hurricane Irene debris. “I’m Sorry” just doesn’t sit well with me.

    1. To be pedantic, Kelo was a renter and not the owner of the property.

      Of course, one could argue that in the absence of a land patent, the state govt of Connecticut owned the land, and the landlord was merely subletting it to Kelo in exchange for quarterly rental payments called “property tax”. 😉

      1. If she had a mortage the bank actually owned the property.

    2. Its good enough for BP.

  8. Again you just don’t get it. The Kelo decision stating the supremacy of collective claims on revenues trumping individual property rights was correct and will be expanded upon in the future.

    Get over it.

    1. F.

      Real Tony would not be so obvious with his statist asshattery.

        1. Troll? This is the position that I’ve maintained throughout my posting at Reason.com I don’t think I’m being particularly obvious or “troll like” in my argument this time.

    2. That should have read: collective claims to revenues.

      Apologies.

      1. You can’t possibly apologize enough for being such a thieving, statist douchebag.

        What the fuck is a “collectivist claim to revenues”, and how the fuck could such a thing possibly, in light of the plain wording and history of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, “trump” individual property rights?

        One of the specific things the Framers were attempting to do with the Constitution in general, and the Bill of Rights in particular, was to protect individual and private property rights as against an overreaching government.

        In sum, fuck you.

        1. See I am am getting more proficient at this!

          1. No you’re not.

        2. It should be telling that those who argued against the BoR were doing so on the assumption that the government would not violate those rights, as well as not wanting them to be enumerated so it seemed like and end all to rights. But even with the enumeration of rights, these bastards STILL violate them.

      2. Taking property JUST TO raise revenue is a fuckbag argument, Tony.

        Now we see why you’re for it.

    3. That worked so well for the Soviets.

  9. “I’m sorry” is a nice sound made by squeezing air through your meat. How about … a finding, after the fact, that the court was in error? How about inviting Miss Kelo to file suit in his court, so that he can reverse the original judgement? How about letting her buy back her land for the miserable pittance the government gave her for it, and declaring that said government must repay her for her knocked down house, with interest?

    How about making her whole? There’s even a word for it: “restitution”. It beats the snot out of “sorry”.

    1. How about …

      Because he’s a coward. He wants it both ways: he wants a monolithic all-powerful state, but he doesn’t have the courage to tell the state’s victims to suck it up. He could take that woman’s home on the flimsiest reasoning, but couldn’t look her in the eye and see the human dimension to his decisions: he apologized out of pure cowardice.

      1. This.

        Boo hoo. He feels bad. If that was me, the movie would have ended with a left hook, me saying go f yourself, spitting on him, then me smiling profusely as the state goons arrest me.

        He is a coward of first order. A worm uncomfortable with tge evil he does.

    2. “I’m sorry” is a nice sound made by squeezing air through your meat.

      I thought that was called something else.

      1. No, you’re thinking of that other thing.

  10. All your property are belong to us.

  11. Had I known all of what you just told us, I would have voted differently

    Don’t the people of Connecticut pay you a large salary to know these things before rendering a decision? Sorry doesn’t feed the bulldog. Fuck you Palmer you incompetent hack.

  12. about that “I’m sorry,” it loses a bit of impact if you read to the end of the article:

    “I do recall telling Susette I was sorry,” he wrote. “But I was expressing my regret for what she had gone through. I would not want the reader to think that I was apologizing for my vote, which I was not doing.”

  13. Well, as MNG would say, whatever happened to Susette Kelo was “a small price to pay” for making sure that devious libertarian landowner activists couldn’t use the courts to limit community control and disposition of their properties.

    Whatever price some other person has to pay is an acceptable loss where the principle of the state’s domination of all property is concerned.

    1. The whole thing is just sickening. My favorite part is namely, that the city’s development plan had never materialized and, as a result, years later, the land at issue remains barren and wholly undeveloped.” He later added that he could not know of those facts “because they were not yet in existence.

      Because God forbid a judge look skeptically at the government. Nope. There was no way he could have ever looked at the lack of a development plan and the blatant cronyism that was going on and concluded that land would never be used for jack. Nope. Palmer was just a poor naif unknowing of the ways of government.

      He is basically admitting he is stupid and incompetent. He should be impeached.

      1. He is basically admitting he is stupid and incompetent.

        Being that the only qualifications (depending on the state of course) one must have to be a judge is a law degree and friends with the power to appoint you, couldn’t that describe most judges?

      2. Beat me to it, John.

        And how is it not relevant, on the day the case is decided, whether there is actually a valid and feasible development plan? Isn’t knowing what the land will be taken for pretty much the essence of the requirement that it will be taken only for public use?

        Incompetent fool. Likely crooked, too. He was elected, right? Did developers donate to his election fund?

        1. Exactly. Knowing that stuff is kind of what the state pays him for.

  14. The entire Obama administration should be chared with racism:

    You’d think that federal housing officials these days would focus on repairing a housing market that continues to retard economic growth. Yet the Department of Housing and Urban Development is preoccupied with the precise racial and ethnic make-up of American neighborhoods, such as Westchester County north of New York City.

    In 2009 Westchester’s then-county executive, Democrat Andrew Spano, reached a settlement with HUD that ended a lawsuit brought by a liberal activist group. The suit alleged that Westchester had accepted federal grants while making false claims about “affordable housing” in the county. Never mind that prior to Team Obama’s strong-arming, HUD officials in Republican and Democratic Administrations had praised Westchester’s housing practices. Mr. Spano said he agreed to the deal instead of going to trial because he didn’t want to put federal funds for the county at risk.

    Westchester officials admitted no wrongdoing, but the county did agree to spend $50 million on 750 new subsidized housing units?630 of which must be constructed in enclaves that are less than 3% black and 7% Hispanic?and to market them to minorities. According to the current Westchester executive, Republican Rob Astorino, the county is well along in meeting those goals, but the Obama Administration won’t take yes for an answer.

    HUD is trying to expand the terms of the settlement from a straightforward stipulation to build housing into an open-ended utopian integration order,” Mr. Astorino says. The Administration wants the county to say that its housing patterns stem from discriminatory practices, though there’s no evidence to support the claim. “All of the objective studies that have been done show that housing patterns in Westchester are driven by economics,” says Mr. Astorino.

    Even the activist group that filed the original lawsuit couldn’t show any pattern of discrimination, which is why it filed a false claims suit instead. According to the 2010 Census, Westchester is the fourth most racially diverse county in the state, trailing only Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, and tying Manhattan.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/…..on_LEADTop

  15. “Had I known all of what you just told us, I would have voted differently.”

    Impeachment proceedings will commence shortly, I’m sure.

  16. I would not want the reader to think that I was apologizing for my vote

    Because I am the state.

    1. He is an important person. He is too big to be wrong. It says a lot about him and the state of our political culture that even after being confronted with overwhelming evidence that it was a bad decision, he still won’t unequivocally admit he was wrong. These are the people who claim to rule us. And this is the reason we are in such trouble.

  17. I do recall telling Susette I was sorry,” he wrote. “But I was expressing my regret for what she had gone through. I would not want the reader to think that I was apologizing for my vote, which I was not doing.”

    He would not have voted differently. The unknown evidence was that the city failed to develop Kelo’s former property which he could not have known at the time of his vote. So fuck that authoritarian piece of shit.

  18. There could be an innocent explanation for this. In appellate decisions, the record of evidence is developed by the trial court. Many of the things that Justice Palmer might have learned from hearing Kelo talk could have been excluded from the record, or have been learned after the record was developed.

    1. That’s the way I read it. That he was consistent with his application of the law based on the facts he knew then — and that facing the same facts and law today he’d apply it the same way.

      He just wishes he’d had all the facts.

      Which still opens him up to invitations to procreate with himself.

      1. I’ve always thought the doctrine that the trial court is the “final arbiter of fact” — and that appellate courts are limited to reviewing the application of law only — is injust, as well as b*llsh*t.

        (I’m sure it’s TRUE that this is what appellate courts DO. However, I think they should not be so limited; if a lower court gavels false “facts” into the record, why should the appellate court be hamstrung?)

    2. rtfa. He’s saying he’s sorry that the deal was a bust. If the project had been a success, he would have been happy with his vote. He’s sorry that the house was taken for no good reason, not that it was taken by an unfair process. He’s fine with the process. His “apology” was a lie.

  19. I’m having a hard time reconciling “I’m not sorry for my vote” and “If I had known then what I know now, I would have voted differently.”

    1. Exactly- Me too.
      One answer is pandering. The other is covering his ass when pressured.

  20. The SCOTUS changed the text from “public use” to “public benefit” and the 5th Amendment was essentially removed form our Constitution.

  21. I think Richard N. Palmer’s private property should be taken away and given to Susette Kelo and then we can call it even.

    two wrongs don’t make a right but Palmer has already proven he doesn’t care about rights.

  22. Those five SCOTUS judges are truly sorry…and pathetic…but they aren’t capable of the sort of clear thinking required to apologize for being so wrong. Stevens, in particular, is a farcical clown of a lawyer, and the second worst Republican appointee in my lifetime.

  23. Thank [insert deity of choice] White Indian isn’t spamming the Reason threads with his anti-ownership shit anymore… it’s bad enough we have Tony.

  24. “I’m having a hard time reconciling “I’m not sorry for my vote” and “If I had known then what I know now, I would have voted differently.”

    These might be consistent if he is saying (1) his vote was right in the context of the limited facts presented in the appellate record, but (2) wrong in the context of additional facts that have since emerged.

    Unfortunately, he still believes (1).

  25. If Palmer were truly sorry then he would resign and devote the rest of his pathetic life to helping to undo the massive damage his idiocy did to our nation.

    In addition, there is no new information for the case (other than the total fiasco made of the whole situation by the various government entities – as anyone with a brain predicted) that should have made any difference to Palmer. His idea that the government is empowered to move around private property at its will and for no greater “public use” than allegedly goosing tax rolls is one of the most repulsive and obnoxious ideas one can imagine.

    But, Palmer keeps his seat, to make more idiotic decisions that he can make phoney apologies for a decade or two later … Yay!

  26. Apologies are worthless. The only intent of an apology is to relieve the guilt of most non-sociopathic people. Apologies don’t change the circumstances of a mistake or injustice.

    This apology does not give Kelo her property back. It does not give back the property of subsequent individuals who had what rightfully is theirs stolen by corrupt politicians and given to their equally corrupt friend developer all in the name of crony capitalism.

  27. Surprised this hasn’t been linked yet:

    We’re Sorry

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