Property Rights

Assessing the Kelo Apology

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Daniel Goldstein, the Brooklyn homeowner who led the legal battle against the Atlantic Yards eminent domain boondoggle, offers a few choice words in response to yesterday's big news that Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Richard Palmer has apologized to homeowner Susette Kelo for his role in her notorious eminent domain case. As Goldstein writes:

[Reporter Jeff] Benedicts's account of the apology, and his communication with Justice Palmer about publishing the account, reveals some very disturbing cognitive dissonance (and cowardice) not just in Palmer's mind, but in the general judicial mind. Palmer's "sorry" is followed by a sorry explanation of what he meant by "sorry."

Apparently his contrition is not about overturning his own ruling (something that Michigan's high court has done when it came to understand its own misguided 23-year old Poletown eminent domain ruling and overturned it—"settled law"? we think not) but that he didn't know the personal hardship that the New London homeowners had gone through and he couldn't have possibly known that the New London/Pfizer development plan would end up with a barren wasteland and a dumping ground for Hurricane Irene refuse, but that even if he had, rest assured this would not have changed his ruling because of "settled" law.

Meanwhile at the Volokh Conspiracy, George Mason University law professor Ilya Somin says that Justice Palmer "lets himself off the hook too easily." According to Somin:

It is true that the justices could not have known for certain that the Kelo condemnations would fail to produce the economic development that supposedly justified the use of eminent domain in the first place. But they could and should have known that such results have often occurred in similar cases, that the New London development plan justifying these particular condemnations was flimsy, and that there was no legal requirement compelling either the city of New London or the new private owners of the condemned property to produce enough development to offset the destruction caused by the takings. Some of these points were in fact noted in Justice Zarella's dissenting opinion in the Connecticut Supreme Court.

For more on Kelo and its aftermath, click here.

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  1. It is true that the justices could not have known for certain that the Kelo condemnations would fail to produce the economic development that supposedly justified the use of eminent domain in the first place.

    It might be nice if, in future, they at least make an honest attempt to recognize there is a greater than zero chance the grandiose dreams of the central planners will NOT work as advertised.

  2. But if the government doesn’t use eminent domain to demolish private property under the pretense of development only to have it be used for refuse storage, who will get rid of the monopolistic hold-out landowners who don’t want their private property demolished under the pretense of development only to have it be used for refuse storage?

  3. he didn’t know the personal hardship that the New London homeowners had gone through

    First, what a lying piece of shit fuck. Or an incompetent fuck. Or both. Especially when these cocks in these robes expect us mere mortals to have a whole plethora of “should have knowns.” that border on omniscience.

    Second, I thought the whole point of the constitution was to be deontological. If you start getting shitty outcomes and you don’t like those shitty outcomes, then you change the law. And the law here in question was the fucking 5th amendment. So this fuck is going to write a book. Well if he really wantd to do the right thing, buy Ms. Kelo a house. Otherwise, please just shut the fuck up.

  4. On the one hand I do want a judge who decide on the law no matter if he thinks that consequences of doing so are suboptimal results. On the other hand, it seems that the New London government’s plan being nonsense should have been a material factor in how Palmer applied the law.

  5. Palmer’s “sorry” is followed by a sorry explanation of what he meant by “sorry.”

    Justices are simply robed attorneys.

  6. Government can only take land for “public use” (“public purpose” if you go by the de facto amendment of the Constitution by our Robed Masters).

    Whether a taking is for public use/purpose is determined entirely, as near as I can tell, by reference to the development plan.

    And this incompetent (and likely crooked) judge wants us to believe that reviewing and evaluating the development plan isn’t relevant to the issue of what happens to the property after it is taken?

  7. So awful. The government literally took their land then took a dump on it.

  8. Fuck him.

    He knew that constitutional takings are limited to property needed for an essential “public use” — not for a favored corporation’s profit.

    That was the constitutional issue before him, and he botched simple analysis. Full stop.

  9. For more on Kelo and its aftermath, click here.

    Click where?

  10. Eminent domain is a crock of shit and would never be considered by a just government. Deal with it, you immoral pissant authoritarian fucks.

  11. Apparently his contrition is not about overturning his own ruling

    This is a confusing sentence. So the judge overturned his own ruling, but the contrition he’s showing is about not that, but rather about something else? Which of his “own ruling(s)” did he overturn, and why should he be sorry about it?

    I’m not being sarcastic here, or grammar nerd-ish. I’m genuinely confused about the relevant sequence of events.

    1. He’s sorry, but not sorry enough to overturn his own ruling. That’s what it’s saying.

  12. What jrs says. You are correct TomD, “Apparently his contrition is not about overturning his own ruling ” is awkward. What i was intending was to say that his contrition was not so sincere or genuine or powerful to the extent that it would lead him to overturn his ruling. Sorry I wasn’t more clear.

  13. If Dick Palmer wants to make a genuine apology, I would accept hara-kiri as proof of his sincerity.

    -jcr

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