Supreme Court

Antonin Scalia vs. Donald Trump

Why Scalia rejected Trump-style eminent domain abuse.

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Antonin Scalia, the conservative legal giant who died on Saturday at age 79, will be remembered for his outspoken views on legal issues ranging from abortion to gun control. Scalia's fierce opposition to eminent domain abuse is also worth remembering.

In 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Kelo v. City of New London. At issue was that Connecticut municipality's desire to bulldoze a working-class neighborhood and hand the razed land over to a private developer working in cahoots with the Pfizer corporation. The idea underlying the city's scheme was that if people were forced out of their homes, their vacant properties could be put to more profitable purposes, thereby swelling the city's tax coffers.

The problem with this approach is that it violates the original meaning of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which says that the government may only take private property for a public use (and it must pay just compensation when it does). Taking property from one private party and handing it over to another private party, by contrast, is plainly inconsistent with all traditional notions of public use, a reality the Supreme Court itself acknowledged back in 1954, when it upheld an eminent domain "urban renewal" taking on the grounds that it served a "public purpose," a far more permissive, and therefore government friendly, concept than public use.

During the February 2005 oral argument in the Kelo case, the lawyer for New London urged the justices to give government officials the broadest leeway possible in eminent domain disputes.

But Justice Scalia was not feeling so generous. Under your theory, Scalia asked the lawyer, "you could take [private property] from A and give it to B if B is richer, and would pay higher municipal taxes, couldn't you?"

"Yes, Your Honor," the lawyer conceded.

"For example," interjected Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, "Motel 6 and the city thinks, well, if we had a Ritz-Carlton, we would have higher taxes. Now, is that okay?"

"Yes, Your Honor, that would be okay," the lawyer conceded again. In other words, because private property can almost always be put to a more profitable purpose, the government can effectively take any private property it wants for any "development" scheme it happens to cook up. So much for the text of the Fifth Amendment.

In the end, of course, Scalia and O'Connor were outvoted. Liberal Justice John Paul Stevens, joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer, gave the government all the leeway it needed to kick people out of their homes and wipe their neighborhoods off the map. "The disposition of this case," Stevens announced, "turns on the question of whether the City's development plan serves a 'public purpose.' Without exception, our cases have defined that concept broadly, reflecting our longstanding policy of deference to legislative judgments in this field."

The Kelo case has been in the news again recently thanks to the presidential campaign of Republican Donald Trump. In Trump's oft-stated view, Kelo is a "wonderful" decision that should be respected and emulated. Trump is also known for trying to personally profit from Kelo-style land grab.

Trump's position is of course totally anathema to the position of Justice Scalia, who once went so far as to compare Kelo to Dred Scott. Perhaps when the next Republican presidential debate rolls around, one of the moderators will consider asking Trump why it is that he prefers the legal views of John Paul Stevens over those of Antonin Scalia on this matter.

NEXT: Politico symposium on Justice Scalia

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  1. Perhaps in the next debate a moderator will ask ALL the GOP candidates why a pipeline benefitting private companies is righteous for eminent domain.

    1. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We all know you would heartily support the use of eminent domain for windmills or solar or some other purpose that isn’t related to fossil fuels. Principles, shrinciples.

      1. *shminciples*

        My kingdom for an edit button!

        1. They obviously taught Yiddish at your high school…or you were schooled on Mel Brooks movies.

        2. For Joe, “shrimpciples” would do.

      2. It’s a principle in a way: ensuring that progressive politics (no matter how internally inconsistent) wins every single time.

      3. “However, if Jeb Bush and all the other pro-Keystone XL candidates onstage last night agree the pipeline should be built, then they’ve got a tough question to answer. One so tough that the group that almost singlehandedly brought eminent-domain abuse to light a decade ago hasn’t taken a position on the project. ”

        -Nick Gillespie

        Nick seems to want the same question asked as I do.

        Guess Nick must also support ED for windmills, solar, etc. principles, eh Sarc? Surely libertarians have principles, right?

        1. I’m not here to defend Nick.

          1. Good for you. Just want to see if you’ll apply the same guesswork you applied to me (and what I would support) to a fellow libertarian. Guess not.

          2. By the way, you have a case of ED with solar that I can give you my opinion about? Keystone is a real one with oil. And I take it you like that ED.

            1. But don’t let me guess. Speak up.

              1. The fact that you cannot make a comment without specific examples says a lot. Here in my state they use ED for windmills regularly. I suppose you think that is OK.

                1. No. I oppose it. Now you with Keystone.

                2. I’m sorry, maybe I dodged again.

                3. Bob Dole doesn’t like ED.

            2. Nice dodge.

              1. I used to love dodgeball.

                1. Come on Sarc! One of us proved he was consistent on ED and it wasn’t you. Speak up on Keystone!

                  1. Wait – are you guys talking about erectile dysfunction? Cos that’s pretty weird in the setting of pipelines and windmills.

                    1. What, you’ve never heard of laying pipe or erecting a tower?

                  2. No probs, Sarc. You would just fit in with all those GOP candidates. They’re phonies too.

                    1. No. I oppose it.

                      Hm. Not sure if you are being honest or not, but that is a principled answer.

                      Now you with Keystone.

                      Why should I bother to answer when it is so much more fun to watch you argue with straw men?

                  3. Being consistent on ED is not particularly useful, unless it is part of an overall philosophy that is consistent.

                    The concept of ED, is government taking for a public purpose. The philosophy that holds this is wrong unless restricted to public USE, is part of a philosophy that finds all takings from a private person to benefit another private person wrong. Both regard private property and taking for public use. The distinction between your real property (dirt), your money, your car, etc. is a legal one, not a philosophical one.

                    So, my question is, are you intellectually and philosophically consistent, or are you just using the argument when it is convenient for you? Because if you are to be consistent, you have to be opposed to food stamps, SS, in fact all transfer payments. The intellectual/philosophical basis of the justification is the same as ED.

                    1. Anybody that wants to oppose a pipeline on the basis of eminent domain has a reasonable argument.

                      How many of the people who oppose the pipeline in question do so on that basis?

                      Also, it’s entirely possible to support a pipeline without supporting eminent domain abuse. Saying otherwise is like saying that supporting the Second Amendment is the same as supporting armed robbery–because legally acquired guns will be used in armed robberies. Actually, it’s perfectly possible to both support the Second Amendment and oppose armed robbery. Conflating the two is unreasonable.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflation

                    2. “So, my question is, are you intellectually and philosophically consistent, or are you just using the argument when it is convenient for you?”

                      Jack and Ace?

                      No, he’s finally figured out our weak spot.

                      We never would have thought about this if it wasn’t for Jack and Ace!

                      He’s ingenious. A real libertarian slayer!

            3. The fact that you haven’t negated his claim that you support eminent domain when it suits your politics suggests that you probably do support eminent domain for windmills and whatnot. Qui tacet consentire videtur.

              1. It may mean that I don’t disown eminent domain entirely on principle. I don’t oppose war entirely on principle either. I don’t oppose arresting people and holding them for 24 hours without charging them with a crime either. I don’t oppose compelling witnesses to appear and testify during trials–at least not on principle.

                I oppose wars that aren’t authorized by Congress, aren’t fought in America’s interests, etc.–on principle. I oppose arresting people without a warrant or probable cause on principle. I oppose compelling witnesses to appear at a trial without a subpoena–on principle.

                And I oppose eminent domain abuse.

                1. There are a number of reasons why a person could oppose eminent domain the way its practiced today and not necessarily oppose the idea on principle. Sometimes, in the past, the government has given themselves 30 years to pay for land they’ve seized. Sometimes, they claim an easement rendering the rest of the land inaccessible or unusable–and only pay for the easement–not the rest of the property they’ve effectively destroyed. Sometimes, they insist on only reimbursing for the purchase price the land owner paid–and not the market (actual) price of the land. I’m a developer. I’ve doubled the price of land and had a school district try to take it for my purchase price–when I had it under contract to sell for double that price.

                  There are myriad reasons why people might oppose eminent domain abuse without opposing eminent domain on principle–just like I might oppose unconstitutional searches without opposing all searches on principle.

                  Certainly, a libertarian might oppose Obama arbitrarily refusing to permit a private pipeline to assuage environmental activists–and still think that the pipeline should be built along easements that are sold by property owners willingly.

                  And people willingly selling easements for pipelines is pretty standard. Oil and gas production companies typically end up paying a premium for those easements. It’s a higher use than growing alfalfa.

                  http://www.texastribune.org/20…..vate-land/

                  1. “There are a number of reasons why a person could oppose eminent domain the way its practiced today and not necessarily oppose the idea on principle.”

                    Perhaps you would care to enlighten us with an example where eminent domain is supposedly justifiable and where the situation could not be solved by sticking with libertarian principles?

                    1. “Perhaps you would care to enlighten us with an example where eminent domain is supposedly justifiable and where the situation could not be solved by sticking with libertarian principles?”

                      In cases where you couldn’t offer enough to someone for their property to make them sell it to you willingly–regardless of price–and there was no way around that property, nothing else could possibly suffice, I think those cases would be extremely rare.

                      I saw a taking one time after hundreds of homes burned down in an area of Southern California. As one of the cars was leaving this neighborhood, there was a house on fire, and it blew the tires of one of the cars. They couldn’t move it. All the cars trying to get out behind it were stuck. All the firetrucks trying to get into the housing development were stuck outside.

                      People were able to hoof it out of there, but there was only one road into or out of that housing development. The fire code won’t let them approve housing developments with only one way into and out of a neighborhood for that reason. The city used eminent domain to get some property behind the development to add another point of ingress and egress for that neighborhood.

                      I believe the city paid for it by placing a special property tax on the homes in that development.

                    2. That outcome doesn’t seem entirely awful to me. Again, it’s sort of like the government compelling some witness to testify under penalty of perjury–with a subpoena. The legitimate purpose of government is to protect our rights. Sometimes they have to do that by dropping bombs on people. Sometimes they have to do that by shooting people and locking them in cages. They need to make sure they follow the Constitution in all of that and respect everyone’s rights when they do that stuff–and when they use eminent domain, too.

                      I believe the person who disputed selling his property to the city that time disputed it over the price. It wasn’t that he wasn’t willing to sell. It’s that he wanted to maximize what the city paid. And the city probably paid too much.

        2. You have a valid point and I think you could drive it further if say the designers of the pipeline said that it absolutely had to plow through an urban environment that would involve a lot of force.
          In the case of this pipeline, I think it is mostly welcomed by land owners because it will actually pay them well for a tiny piece of property (not sure though) taken.
          Also, if someone squeaks loudly enough there are plenty of other options in ruraldom to the point where some may be lobbying for it.
          I’ve been on enough freeways, interstates, to realize that non-straight lines weren’t the result of some sort of give and take.

    2. I can answer for myself: It’s because freedom of movement is one part of freedom generally. Where liberties conflict?in this case the freedom to move thru vs. the freedom to exclude?an equitable sol’n should be found. In this case, an easement for a facility to transport oil across someone else’s property.

      1. Other than a difference I see being you’re transporting a product instead of people, that does seem to go along with the accepted practice over the centuries. For example private railroads.

        1. Power lines? Water pipes?

          1. Power lines? Water pipes?

            Duh good point

        2. A simple rule of thumb can be used to distinguish the proper from the improper use of eminent domain: Used properly, ED concerns long, narrow areas of land. ED abuse concerns blocky-shaped areas of land.

          There’ve always been exceptions, as when a dam causes an area upstream to be submerged, but I’d say my geometric rule works in at least 95% of cases. The mere fact that gov’t wants some blocky area of land doesn’t by itself justify a taking, as there’s usually flexibility as to location, no matter what unarguably public use there may be planned for the land. Something has to be literally in the way to justify ED.

          1. To add to that, if the government is taking entire pieces of property, it is usually bad, while if it is taking only a slice of someone’s property (to run a power line over, etc.) then it is usually okay. There are tons of obvious exceptions to this (roads, people who have weird property shapes and amounts, etc.) but it is an okay rule of thumb.

            1. So if my property value is diminished because of an oil pipeline routed through my back yard, in what way does ED compensate me for that? Serious question, I don’t know what the law is about how compensation is determined.

            2. Fuck that. First of all, roads, pipelines, and power lines should be privately owned. Second, the land or easements should be acquired voluntarily on the market.

              1. It is extremely rare that an undeveloped property owner would refuse to give roads, sewer, storm drains, electric lines, etc. easements necessary for that stuff.

                Getting that stuff put in is extremely expensive and having it on your property increases its value tremendously. If they want to run power lines along your property, that’s not something you want to dispute.

                Most people are amazed at how little they need to insure their homes for fire. It’s often a relatively small percentage of the purchase price of the house. The reason for that is because when you buy a house, you’re not just paying for what’s above ground. You’re paying for the street, the storm drain running, the curb, the sidewalks, the electric lines, the sewer, the gas lines, the street lights, etc. That typically costs more per home than the price of the constructed home itself–and it doesn’t burn down in a fire.

                If some company wants to run that stuff across your property–it’s like they’ll pay you to improve your property for you. That’s generally not a deal you’re going to turn away from. On an undeveloped piece of property, you’re trying to figure out how to pay to get that stuff run out to your property–not how to keep the utilities and roads away.

                1. What if they want to run a line thru your property on the way to somewhere else? You shouldn’t be allowed to stand in the way, but should just get your damages back from them. ED is justified here.

      2. “In this case, an easement for a facility to transport oil across someone else’s property.”

        Are you telling me there would be not way to route that pipeline through with voluntary sellers of easements?

        1. They’re making a presumption about people with land that’s used for growing hay (low use) would object to being paid for a higher use.

          I don’t know that there are any or many cases like that pending. There will be cases of people who want to sell but won’t settle for any market number until they’ve exhausted the eminent domain appeals process out.

          If you knew where they were going to build the pipeline ahead of time, you could make a fortune buying up the land underneath it, selling the easement, and then reselling the land.

          Nobody’s land is about to lose value because there’s suddenly more demand for a higher use.

        2. Are you telling me there would be not way to route that pipeline through with voluntary sellers of easements?

          Probably, but it would likely be much longer, much more likely to have failures, etc.

          I have relatively little problem with using ED for easements, even for easements to move stuff rather than people. Everything can be abused, of course, but I don’t know that throwing the (post-partum) baby out with the bathwater is a good long-term strategy.

        3. I would bet any hold out would be a environmentally-minded person and not a money issue.

    3. Jackand Ace|2.14.16 @ 4:31PM|#
      “Perhaps in the next debate a moderator will ask ALL the GOP candidates why a pipeline benefitting private companies is righteous for eminent domain.”

      Jackshit shows up to HINT that his opposition to the pipeline has to do with ED!
      He’ll be here all week, folks! If he keeps it up, one of his lies stands a chance to be amusing
      Fuck off, slaver.

    4. Who here supports EF for the pipeline. I support allowing it, but without ED. But they shouldnt have to ask government approval in the first place.

      1. In principle, I don’t like ED but it is in the constitution so we have to live with it (and argue over exactly what it means) for now.

      2. robc|2.14.16 @ 8:16PM|#
        “I support allowing it, but without ED. But they shouldnt have to ask government approval in the first place.”

        ‘Allowing’ it shouldn’t even be in question, and ED is one of the mistakes in the 5th. I read it as limiting government grabs, but it still allows them.
        In the case of the pipeline, it’s hard to make a utilitarian argument for it use, disregarding the principles. That oil is coming out of that ground and being used whether the pipeline is there or not.

        1. The reason for building a pipeline is that it uses fewer resources to transport the oil than trains (which I think is the next best alternative), and if you ship it by train, you may have to build more tracks anyway, running into the same problem as finding land for the pipeline. The utilitarian argument is that the cost savings outweigh the alternate uses of the land and resources used to build it.

          The argument against using eminent domain is that if the pipeline is really worth more than the alternate uses of the land, then there is room to make a deal with the current owners.

          An argument in favour of eminent domain that I haven’t seen around here is that it is difficult to negotiate with land owners over thousands of miles, trying to survey enough alternate routes to circumvent anyone who tries to get a massive pay-day by holding the entire project hostage. (Of course, using eminent domain hurts those who really do value their land substantially more than the government estimate of market value.)

          Think about air pollution. From first principles, any factory should have to negotiate with every single land owner impacted by the smoke. This is infeasible, so our choices are either no pollution (and hence forego all the associated economic activity) or some sort of government regulation/taxation of pollution.

          1. I should add that this infeasibility of negotiation argument precludes the use of eminent domain to acquire land for corporations that failed to foresee that they might have to expand their facilities at some point, or casinos that forget that they need parking lots.

            In these kinds of cases, before the company starts building, it should buy all the land it will need, or pay current property owners for the opportunity to buy the land later according to a pre-arranged schedule of costs.

            1. I’ve read you comments several times; you’ve simply claimed there is a utilitarian reason to allow ED.
              From principle, I disagree.

        2. In the case of the pipeline, it’s hard to make a utilitarian argument for it use,

          Actually, its not. The easement makes the pipeline shorter, and thus safer and cheaper. The benefits of safer, cheaper transport tend to be shared pretty broadly with downstream users/buyers and others.

  2. So can we sue the governnent to put up a microbrewery where the White House currently sits?

    1. If Shrillary wins it the White House will once again be highly profitable.

      1. I’m sure she’d find a way to hide those profits from the taxman.

        1. It would be one for her and 19 for the Clinton Foundation.

          /Taxman

    2. I’d consider that public use.

    3. Fucking AirBnB the place. Wait. That was already done before AirBnB existed. Lincoln Bedroom. What’s that go for? I forget. Which Administration was pulling that stunt?

  3. Supreme Court justices appointed by Republican Presidents are lockstep doctrinaire automatons. Justices appointed by Democrats just happen to consistently agree with one another, based on deeply thoughtful and fastidious analysis of the Constitution.

    1. When Kelo came down NPR emphasized the majority of the majoritywere “Republican justices”.

      1. Souter was a Republican Justice.

        1. As were Anthony Kennedy and John Paul Stevens. NPR was “correct” based on who nominated them but they called 2 liberals and a swing “Repoublican” because the decision was so politically toxic they didn’t want it tied to the left.

          1. NPR being dishonest is not news. To be hipster, you have to be…well, hipster.

      2. Kelo was amazing.

        Republicans I knew hated it and blamed Democrats, and Democrats I knew hated it and blamed Republicans.

  4. The best part was when you saw states enact stronger rules respecting private property and limiting eminent domain after the Kelo case.

    1. Justice Stevens invited the States to do just that if they liked. What was funny was O’Connor, who hated Kelo apparently didn’t see it as a logical outcome of her decision in Midkiff, which acted as precedent for the “public use = public purpose” crap that gave us Kelo.

  5. Did Scalia ever say anything about the Secretary of State accepting donations from foreign governments?

    I guess that’s more of an impeachment question.

    Hillary wouldn’t be the first cabinet member to be impeached after resigning from office.

    http://tinyurl.com/jfgdngf

    1. I guess the question is . . . not only can we impeach her if she’s out of office but also whether we can impeach her as President for what she did while she was the Secretary of State.

        1. If impeachment just removes someone from office, and what she did, she did while she was the Secretary of State, then maybe we can only remove her from being the Secretary of State–for what she did while she was the Secretary of State.

          We’re talking about the Clintons here. She put together a real estate investment partnership while she was at Rose Law, and it ended up funneling taxpayer money meant to bail out Madison Guarantee depositors into Bill Clinton’s campaign fund. Everyone in the partnership except for the Clintons went to prison for being in the partnership. Despite Hillary having put the partnership together, they got out of the legal trouble–not by claiming the money didn’t get into their campaign fund by way of the Whitewater partnership she put together. But by claiming they had no idea how the money got from one place to the other!

          Bill said “It depends on what the meaning of “is” is” under oath! She claimed she didn’t have to testify against Bill because she was married to him.

          You have no idea how devious and slippery Hillary is. It’s a vast right wing conspiracy to trick everybody into thinking she isn’t God’s greatest gift to humanity, doncha know. She’ll take this shit all the way to the Supreme Court for sure.

          1. And Hillary can then count on her newly appointed Supreme Court justice, Barack Obama, to cast the swing vote in her favor.

            1. Can Obama pardon her before she’s convicted?

              1. Absolutely. See Nixon’s and the draft dodgers’ pardons for this.

                1. Yeah, then he’ll do that.

                  Just like Bill Clinton pardoned a bunch of his donors on his last day in office, Obama will pardon Hillary for everything she ever did.

                  Hillary will probably start selling indulgences like it’s a night in the Lincoln bedroom.

                  1. That is just not going to go over with a bunch of swing voters. Hillary getting a pre-election pardon, playing games with SC appointments, etc. That’s the sort of thing that will tick off many, including Democrats. Not everyone is a blind partisan, and there’s a strong feeling of “the establishment is screwing us for their own benefit” that is fueling both Trump and Sanders. Obama can easily go too far and screw the Dems.

                    1. He can do it after the election.

                      There’s a long time between the election and when Obama has to clean out his desk.

                    2. But then she has to run with this hanging over her head. And not everyone in the FBI is a Democratic partisan. She’s in very bad situation, with no easy way out.

                    3. My FB has a ton of Democrats whining about how Obama should be allowed his appointment to the SCOTUS.

                      I’m sure 95% would flip to the other side if the parties were reversed.

          2. There’s no end to Clinton villainy that remains unlisted here, from the commodity trades that only a crooked broker willing to sell out other clients could’ve made that profitable for the Clintons, to the disappearing-reappearing IRS files. The only reason Hillary made it into the serious consider’n stage for prez is that a lot of people who liked the previous Clinton admin., mainly because Wall St. soared, figure that if she’s elected Bill will be calling the shots in the Oval Office.

            Obama’s been an awful prez, but his getting the nominaton was worth it to keep Hillary from it. I thought that in 2008, had some doubts in the intervening yrs., but now I’m sure of it again. If she got elected, the precedent it would set would encourage anyone in this country who had the slightest stomach for it to become a crook. Children would aspire to supervillainy rather than superherodom. As a child my favorite cartoon character was Bluto, and that’s just a small taste of what a Prez Hillary future would hold.

      1. Is there anything in the Constitution that really limits the reason for impeachment? Any President can be impeached for any reason. The ‘official’ reason would comply with the USC, but that’s a technicality. Ultimately, it’s a political question. If Congress could impeach and convict the President (assuming they want to) without suffering any political damage, they’d do so.

    2. Did Scalia ever say anything about the Secretary of State accepting donations from foreign governments?

      How many times must it be pointed out that Hillary is isolated — ISOLATED, — from the so-called Clinton Foundation? It’s not her fault if foreign governments just want to help people who need HAHAHAHAHAAA!! Damn, couldn’t quite get it out!

    3. Also a motive question

  6. “Without exception, our cases have defined [‘public purpose’] broadly, reflecting our longstanding policy of deference to legislative judgments in this field.”

    I thought it their fucking job to determine when legislation is obviously unconstitutional…? This “oh, they made a law – sound good to me” attitude seems like, oh I dunno, not doing their job.

    1. I especially like the approval of spectral evidence, also known as “dog alerts”.

    2. The criterion they came up with?”comprehensive plan”?is the same as that by which federal laws affecting commerce come to preclude intrastate deviations.

    3. I never understood that argument either.

  7. “KANYE WEST
    ?
    @kanyewest

    I write this to you my brothers while still 53 million dollars in personal debt… Please pray we overcome… This is my true heart…’

    Yeah, sure thing pal.

    These people.

    1. That’s an amazing number.

      1. Debt in isolation is meaningless.

        What’s the rest of his balance sheet look like? He could be carrying $53mmin debt and $200mm in other assets.

  8. Re: the thread from last night: did you guys start talking to Tulpa again?

    Stop talking to Tulpa.

    1. You never know it’s Tulpa until you know it’s Tulpa.

      Before you know it’s Tulpa?

      There’s a Tulpa Tulpa here
      And a Tulpa Tulpa there
      Here a Tulpa
      There a Tulpa
      Everywhere a Tulpa Tulpa

      If you didn’t talk to anybody who might be Tulpa, you might not talk to anybody new.

      But once you know it’s Tulpa, you know it’s Tulpa.

      1. If you didn’t talk to anybody who might be Tulpa, you might not talk to anybody new.

        But once you know it’s Tulpa, you know it’s Tulpa.

        Solid point. I guess it’s only after you see a bunch of posts by a completely unfamiliar handle that you begin to realize, “Fuck me, that’s Tulpa.” Can’t blame the commentariat for taking a nibble on that worm, I guess.

        1. “Solid point. I guess it’s only after you see a bunch of posts by a completely unfamiliar handle that you begin to realize, “Fuck me, that’s Tulpa.” Can’t blame the commentariat for taking a nibble on that worm, I guess.”

          It’s a game with him; troll as a reasonable newbe, inoffensive comments, sounding reasonable and then any disagreement starts the dissembling.
          The point is simple: Like Jack, like commie-kid, like Tony, he’s not here to offer an honest argument; it’s a game to troll libertarians and ‘score points’.
          I don’t think Alice does that. Pretty sure Alice’s mental capability is such that the arguments he offers are offered sincerely, if amazingly.

          1. Really? Shriek isn’t on that list? C’mon man!

      1. Is that Tulpa?

        See, that’s what I’m talkin’ about.

        Tulpa, Tulpa, everywhere . . .

        Why would he want to keep comin’ around anyway?

        There’s gotta be a screw loose there somewhere, right?

          1. *sends for the Tulpas in white coats to take Crusty away*

            1. *sends for the Tulpas in white coats to take Crusty away*

              I told you that sexual fantasy in confidence.

        1. What if we’re all Tulpa and we just don’t know it yet?

          1. I know you’re not Tupla, of course, I was acting a foo. Then again, that is just what Tulpa would want me to think…

            1. Wait a minute? What if *you’re* Tulpa and all this is just a smokescreen to deflect suspicion onto other people?

              1. In a twist ending, it will turn out that we’re *all* Tulpa, except Tulpa himself, who is really Elvis.

    2. Does beating on tulpa count as talking to tulpa?
      I figured out who it was and beat on him until he was griping and he STFU, so if I’m guilty, so be it.

  9. OT –

    “Indiana corporate leaders warned
    that the failure of the Republican-controlled Legislature to enact a law protecting gay, lesbian and bisexual people from discrimination could rebound on business, making it harder to recruit talented employees and sell the state as an attractive place to live.”

    1. It’s intriguing listening to liberal Democrats assert civilization will collapse because Republicans (insert issue of day here) but indignantly lash out if anyone dares argue the most impoverished and violent places are (and traditionally have been) Democrat strong holds.

      1. I love how we need to be so concerned about businesses leaving the state, but when states have tax incentives for businesses or have right-to-work or other things that bring businesses to a state, those are just evil handouts to the corporations who secretly run the government (not that I support subsidies or a ton of the other crap states give to businesses, but I doubt any of the liberal opposition to those involves minimizing interference in the market as a principle).

        Seriously I’ve heard liberals talk about the success Texas has had and say things like “yeah there’s a ton of growth, but it’s happen in ways that are immoral (or whatever such way they choose to phrase that).”

        1. Race to the bottom!

    1. The law raped him?

    2. You know, when a concentration camp guard says he was ‘forced’ he means he likely would have been shot for refusing an order.

      When a federal judge says he was ‘forced’ he means he would have lost his cushy job.

      1. Not even that.

        He would have been overturned on appeal. That’s it, worst case scenario.

        Oh, the horror.

    3. He was a federal judge. If he really cared about liberty (and this defendent in particular), why couldn’t he have simply said that the 8th Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment applied and sentence him to what he thought was reasonable (not arguing about the whole immorality of the drug war in the first place). Then let the appelate courts go from there. What would happen to him? As a federal judge, he could be fired by the President I guess, but what else would happen to him?

  10. And you think Hillary is gonna go to jail over emails?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kypl1MYuKDY

    I’m starting to think they’re every bit as evil as the Underwoods.

    1. She’s certainly eligible for jail, but that probably won’t happen. But I think the email scandal is a hole below the waterline of the campaign, and it’s increasingly hard to see how she gets elected.

      1. I think it comes down to whether enough people in the FBI have integrity or not. I don’t see an indictment, frankly. And if the FBI sits on its hands through the elections, and doesn’t loudly protest or start leaking, then she can continue to limp on, perhaps into a post-election pardon by Obama and the White House.

        The Russians must be licking their chops at having a President that they will own lock, stock, and barrel.

        1. My gut sense is that most of the FBI is professional and has integrity. If she’s not indicted, many of them will blow the whistle on the whole thing.

          1. If she’s not indicted, many of them will blow the whistle on the whole thing.

            Well, there is the precedent of Mark Felt, Associate Director of the FBI, doing the right thing with Woodward and Bernstein. I think leaks from the FBI are how this scandal’s gotten as far as it has. Congress appointing a special prosecutor would be nice.

            FBI doesn’t indict, FWIW; DOJ does. Is there a US Attorney with enough political ambition to see if s/he can get Hillary’s scalp? I doubt there is. Especially since, if they get close enough, O’s just going to give her a pre-emptory pardon—for the email stuff only—and make it all go away. She (hopefully) won’t win due to that, but it’s no skin of O’s ass at that point. And if Hillary dumps her ‘Fuck-you, Obama’ files to the media and FBI, O can turn around and release the crap he has on her that isn’t associated with the server scandal.

            I don’t know if she’s going to win at this point, pardon or not. She’s lost an awful lot of ground from this point last year.

  11. For a bunch of libertarian kooks you all seem to be buying the story that Scalia died of natural causes. I do not buy it, which of course makes me the sole Reason commenter to pass the purity test.

    The link is from infowars (duh), but it is not like they are the only ones with the theory(s): Texas Judge, Scalia Family Turn Down Autopsy

    Obama had Scalia killed so that he could finally dismantle the 2nd Amendment before he left office.

    1. The motive is there…the competence, not so much

      1. Someone competent is pulling the strings so that they can force America to disarm so that we will unable to rise up and revolt against them.

        1. Crusty Juggler|2.14.16 @ 9:31PM|#
          “Someone competent is pulling the strings so that they can force America to disarm so that we will unable to rise up and revolt against them.”

          So, no one in government? Hmm. Lemme think…

          1. George Soros is Gepetto? I am in.

  12. It’s still technically the weekend, so let me troll some more…

    Georgia bill would allow prayer back in schools

    “House Bill 816, also known as Georgia Student Religious Liberties Act of 2016, would allow “students in local schools (to) pray or engage in religious activities or religious expression before, during, and after the school day.”…

    “”(In) 1962 the Supreme Court made this ruling and, what we’ve noticed since the Supreme Court ruling, there has been an increase in violence, murder, teen pregnancy, divorce rate,” said Sabrina McKenzie with the Legislative Clergy Council. “If you don’t think prayer is the answer, then what is the answer?”

    “Members of McKenzie’s group joined several Morehouse College students and faith leaders with signs in support of the bill. Similar rallies are also happening in seven other states.”

    1. (Supposedly the bill is contrary to the US Supreme Court’s decisions)

    2. “”(In) 1962 the Supreme Court made this ruling and, what we’ve noticed since the Supreme Court ruling, there has been an increase in violence, murder, teen pregnancy, divorce rate,” said Sabrina McKenzie with the Legislative Clergy Council. “If you don’t think prayer is the answer, then what is the answer?”

      I really don’t give a hoot whether kids pray or not. I *do* care if it is part of the school practice.
      But regardless, that statement is among the most ignorant comments I’ve read in a while. Yep, of all the things that have happened since 1962, it’s keeping kids from praying in school that’s caused the downfall of mankind!

      1. Look the Lord works in mysterious ways, who the fuck are you to tell me the trends didn’t occur preemptive my because God knew we would give up on him in the future, hunh?

        Chew on that why dontcha ya pagan piece of crap!

      2. I don’t get this about these people.

        Nobody is stopping anyone from praying. Nobody’s even stopping your parents from *forcing* you to pray. They’re just stopping the *state* from doing so. And in a limited venue (your teachers/administrators mandating prayer). You can still pray in school. Pray *publicly* in school. Its just that the *school can’t force you to do so*.

        1. Its just that the *school can’t force you to do so*.

          Maybe that’s what they want. Failing that, there’s always public shaming of kids who don’t go along with the dominant religion of the area.

        2. They’ve been willfully mischaracterizing this for close to 50 yrs.

    3. “If you don’t think prayer is the answer, then what is the answer?”

      I don’t know Sabrina; I’ve just noticed that a lot of jihadis like to pray before engaging in acts of violence and murder. So, perhaps it’s something else.

      1. Rosemary beads don’t make good shrapnel.

        1. Rosemary beads? I sure hope that’s not an autocorrect from a program that doesn’t know what a rosary is. If it is, let’s see what it thinks a scapular is.

          1. I’ve been reading people’s telephone salad long enough that I didn’t even see anything wrong with that.

          2. I wish I could blame autocorrect and not my total disinterest in magic stuff.

            1. Carrying a rosary makes you look pious. If it’s a heavy chain with nice glass beads you can put a nasty welt on your brother and still look completely innocent. Or so I’ve heard.

      2. No, that’s just it: We can’t let ourselves be out-prayed by them!

        1. Robert|2.14.16 @ 11:18PM|#
          “No, that’s just it: We can’t let ourselves be out-prayed by them!”

          I was told this when I knew practically nothing about college football (and I know nearly nothing now)
          A southern coach, all white team, lost an important game to a team which had black kids on it. He responded: “I won’t be out-niggered again!” Which lead to integration of that school.
          I just did a search and found nothing; anyone know whether it’s true?

          1. The quote is from George Wallace who lost an election to a more loudly racist guy. Wallace never again was out- niggers. The quote may have been used later by others.

  13. Wonder if The Bern will make this speech to Yellin.

    1. I lost brain cells watching the part of that that I could get through.

      1. It is absolutely excruciating. The Chinese are selling us cheap shit! We’d be better off paying more for stuff cuz… Wealth effect?

        1. He even touches on a few good points, but just runs them into the ground with his solutions (technically most of this wasn’t in his speech, but based on what I know of the guy).

          Long term unemployment up? Yeah let’s go after businesses!

          Private investment at record lows? I’m suprised he even acknowledged this as a problem to be honest.

          “We have the largest gap between the top and bottom” or whatever he said exactly? Better pursue policies based on central planning that give the government (which we know is totally bought out by the corporations, but is also the thing we need to trust above all else) total power to pick winners and losers in the economy! I mean it’s not like the middle class has always flourished in places with lots of economic freedom, while more controlling places tend to stifle upward mobility and consolidate wealth among the elite, that’s just crazy talk!

          1. Seriously, this shit pisses me off so much. “Income inequality is increasing so much recently, oh and by the way, our economy keeps getting more and more regulated over that same period of time, and you can also see these trends mirror each other based on geographic location and throughout history, but no, they aren’t fucking related at all. The only way to stop inequality is to do more of what we’re doing, only a racist would think otherwise.”

          2. That’s Bernie. In a past life he was a medieval doctor. “Leeches are making the patient sicker! Bring me some tapeworms, stat.”

            1. “It looks like this guy was burned (berned?) pretty badly, nurse fetch a couple buckets of lava ASAP!”

              1. What’s crazy is the people that would be punished the most under BernUSA are the very people he’s most popular with. “You can’t work for less than X and you can’t start a business without a fleet of lawyers to guide you through my bureaucratic nightmare.” “Der, ok. It’s for my own good, right?” No. You don’t help people by eliminating the choices they prefer.

                1. people that would be punished the most under BernUSA are the very people

                  …he wants Uncle Sugar to take care of.

                2. No one needs to start the 23rd different food company while children are starving in this country

                  1. “No one needs to start the 23rd different food company while children are starving in this country”

                    And the hypocrite Ben Cohen just introduced the, what, 50th flavor ‘honoring’ our socialist who failed to make a living in the real world?
                    We don’t need no “Bernies’ Yearning”, we need vanilla, pal!

                    1. Good point.

                3. It would be interesting to see what percentage of Bernie supporters are small business people. Do they have any idea what sorts of profit margins small businesses operate under and how much the government tends to get from small businesses as compared to what the owners get?

                  1. It will be from all the other businesses, duh

                    1. By it I mean what he takes in taxes

                    2. We know what those rich bastards do with those profits.

    1. The sad thing is I knew what that link would be before it even loaded.

    2. Good lord, there’s another PM in Australia? I can’t keep up.

  14. OT
    At first glance, looks good, but if it delivered what it claimed, would the gov’ts be interested in adopting it?

    “How OpenGov strives to help governments meet the demands of the 21st century”
    […]
    “Bookman founded his company, mOpenGov.com, with Nate Levine and Joe Lonsdale in 2012. In the past year, OpenGov has made the kind of progress many startups can only dream of and with over 700 governments in 45 states using the platform, a new executive team and the backing of investor Marc Andreessen, OpenGov is poised for even more success.
    “We have built an incredible team to tackle some very difficult problems,” Bookman said, reflecting on some of 2015’s most poignant success stories.”
    http://www.sfgate.com/visionsf…..746543.php

    Sniffs tulpaesque, and then you get this comment:
    Redwood_baby Rank 22
    “OpenGov doesn’t put information in the format a government actually uses for its standard accounting reports that are audited; and it’s pain to navigate, and is missing the drill down.
    It’s a dummied-down version of reporting that has holes in it, ironically having governments “think” they are open and mollifying the crowd about finances. Transfers between funds that voters mandate for special tax proceeds, good luck finding that background information online.”

  15. So let’s talk about SCOTUS: Are the First and Second Amendments doomed? Or is this right-wing panic?

    1. Doomed? Not necessarily. Threatened? Yes.

      1. See Elect Trump you mean?

    2. Yes and no.

      Heller and Citizens United were both 5-4 decisions. If Obama manages to get another liberal justice on the court, any further cases involving guns or restrictions on election spending/speech could quite easily end in overturning the earlier cases, or at the very least completely gutting them.

      The damage to free speech would be bad but not ruinous.

      The damage to gun rights is harder to predict, but most places that are pro-gun probably wouldn’t change much, while anti-gun places would get shittier, and it could take decades to undo the damage. It could also embolden anti gunners enough to get federal anti-gun measures passed. There’s also a slight risk of basically starting another Civil War depending on just how hard they push (for instance, if the ruling is used as an excuse to pass a bill banning a large number of guns). But I don’t think there’s too great a chance of that unless the progs completely and utterly lose their minds AND somehow manage to both win the Presidency and get filibuster-proof majorities in the House and Senate.

      1. It could also embolden anti gunners enough to get federal anti-gun measures passed.

        That’s the big risk, I think.

        Hillary and Dem Congress could pass a $1000 tax per handgun, and a $1.00 tax per round of ammo, and SCOTUS would wave it through. And by SCOTUS, I mean the panel that gave us Heller, never mind a panel with some drooling proggy replacing Scalia.

    3. As far as I am concerned, the 1A and 2A have been de facto amended by SCOTUS to a much narrower foundation and (for the 2A) much weaker standards of review. Those aren’t the 1A and 2A that we started with.

      “If you like your BOR, you can keep your BOR”.

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  19. Dream On?:

    “……In your dream, Donald Trump is not a fraud,
    In your dream, Sanders is not a fraud,
    In your dream,all the rest are not frauds,
    In your dream, Obama is not a fraud,
    In your dream, Reagan was not a fraud,
    In your dream, all the rest were not frauds,

    In your dream, the constitution was not a scam,
    In your dream, the Supreme court is not a scam,
    In your dream, 9/11 was not a scam…….”

    Lyrics excerpted from:

    “Dreams [Anarchist Blues]”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMXtoU…..e=youtu.be

    Regards, onebornfree.

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