Republican Convention 2016

Republican Platform Denounces Kelo, the Eminent Domain Ruling That Trump Called 'Wonderful'

Republican Platform vs. Republican presidential nominee


Gage Skidmore /

The 2016 Republican Party Platform contains a section titled "The Fifth Amendment: Protecting Private Property." In it, the Republican Platform denounces the Supreme Court's 2005 ruling in Kelo v. City of New London for undermining the Fifth Amendment "by allowing local governments to seize a person's home or land not only for vital public use, but also for 'public purpose,' which thus allowed the government to seize it for transfer to private developers or other private entities." The platform then goes on to praise various state and federal lawmakers who have proposed or enacted various pieces of anti-Kelo legislation.

I wonder if Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has had the opportunity to read this section of the platform on which he is ostensibly running for president. After all, unlike the Republican Party Platform, Donald Trump happens to be a huge admirer of the Supreme Court's Kelo decision. Indeed, Trump has repeatedly praised Kelo as "wonderful" and made it quite clear that he thinks the Court got it right.

In fact, not only does Trump love Kelo, Trump has tried to personally profit from Kelo-style eminent domain abuse. In 1994 Trump joined forces with government officials in Atlantic City in the hopes of kicking an elderly widow out of her home in order to make way for a limousine parking lot for the Trump Plaza hotel and casino. Thankfully, Trump and his government pals were laughed out of court.

Trump, however, remains unapologetic about that shameful episode. For example, after I wrote a column in October 2015 detailing Trump's ugly record on eminent domain, the conservative site Breitbart asked Trump to respond to me and other critics. Trump responded by doubling down on his support for Kelo-style eminent domain abuse.

So which is it, GOP? Is Donald Trump correct that Kelo is a "wonderful" decision? Or is the Republican Platform correct that Kelo is an unconstitutional assault on the Fifth Amendment? You can only pick one.

NEXT: Gary Johnson: LIVE from the RNC in Cleveland

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  1. Tony: “Aw look at the libertarians get a boner for undermining forcible property redistribution when that’s not the point at all.”

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  2. This platform is cursed! But it comes with a free Frogurt!

    The Frogurt is also cursed.

    1. Can I go now?

  3. I think there’s going to be plenty of disconnect between Donald Trump and the GOP to look past.

    1. On this there’s even disconnect between Trump & populism. But only because he happens to be a real estate developer who’s tried to benefit from eminent domain himself, so he’s taking a position opposite the populist one on Kelo. Probably also favors eminent domain for the wall, but hardly anyone would consider that an abuse of eminent domain, rather an abuse of common sense.

  4. I proclaim a drinking game. Every time Reason posts a Trump bashing article, drink! It was nice knowin y’all.

    1. I’m interested to see how they cover the DNC in comparison.

      1. I hope they’re there during the fart in. That should once and for all prove that Democrats are above the crazy.

        1. And, we already know one issue to look out for:

          Free speech and academic freedom, where the platforms are practically identical. The Repubs got lit up by Reason (frankly, I’ve already forgotten the details), so I expect a similar article of equal incoherence criticizing the Dems.

          1. Oh, come on. The Dems may (will) act a lot crazier than anyone did at the RNC, but remember, it’s all the fault of Milo for being a racist. And maybe a Nazi, I’m not real clear on that yet.

            1. No, its not Milo who’s a Nazi.

              Its the people who invite him to campus to protest against anti-free speech campus administration who are the Nazis.

              I think. That Rico Suave post probably needs to be deciphered by a credentialed derpetologist.

      2. Me, too.

        If it isn’t with a comparable level of contempt, scathing dismissal, and spittle-flecked hostility, I’ll be disappointed.

        1. I assume it’ll be more focused on making a point of why Hillary is the better choice of the two evils.

          1. “Look, Hillary’s ready to govern. She’s already got her influence peddling and money laundering operation set up and beta tested while she was Secretary of State.”

          2. “…focused on making a point of why Hillary is the better choice of the two evils.”

            I think Chapman, or was it Richman, already made that argument explicitly. His rationale was jaw dropping.

      3. With all the Love and Respect they deserve?

    2. I am all for Trump bashing as long as it is done in good faith. The weaselly bullshit that has passed for Trump bashing around here lately has put me in the position of either having to defend the guy or call out the basher as dishonest. It pisses me off.

      This is a fair criticism. That Trump supports, even cheered, Kelo would be a deal breaker for me if it weren’t for the abject evil of Cankles. I think I am going to show up at the polls with a clothespin on my nose.

      1. I’m planning to wear my “Cthulhu 2016” t-shirt to see if I get called out for illegally campaigning at a polling place.

        1. That is funny. You probably will as nearly no one knows who that is and will think it is a real candidate.

        2. Back when I was in college – at UT Austin – Paul Begala ran for student body president. I, and alot of others, voted for Hank the Hallucination (a character in a comic strip in the school newspaper). Anyway, I wore a Hank button when I went to vote and they made me take it off at the polling place.

          BTW, Hank won by a large margin.

    3. Trump’s support for Kelo is appalling, and I would hope that anyone who considers themselves to be libertarian-minded agrees that his support for Kelo is appalling.

      1. Bad!

  5. What actual enforcement mechanism is there if Trump chooses to disregard the platform under which he is running?

    I suppose the legacy media will praise his “statesmanship.”

    1. I didn’t think candidates ran “under” the party platform. For the most part party platforms are just…there. I think it’s mostly a way for the delegates of the primary losers to feel like they got something out of the process.

  6. I think some people will be surprised when the DNC turns out to be the only real crazy of the 2 conventions. Keep in mind, at the RNC, the crazies are actually outside in the streets and being in general constrained by the cops. At the DNC, the crazies will be inside, among the crowd. Yikes!

  7. I am not sure Hat n’ Hair would remember he said nice things about it…

  8. Trump aide takes responsibility for Melania speech

    In working with Melania Trump on her recent First Lady speech, we discussed many people who inspired her and messages she wanted to share with the American people. A person she has always liked is Michelle Obama. Over the phone, she read me some passages from Mrs. Obama’s speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech. I did not check Mrs. Obama’s speeches. This was my mistake, and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps, as well as to Mrs. Obama. No harm was meant.

    1. He should commit ritual suicide – publicly.

      1. Hasn’t he taken the hint – the horse heads in his bed in Trump Towers?

        (note: the foregoing was strictly a joke)

      2. It’s a she. She offered her resignation but the Donald didn’t accept it. But you’d know all that if you’d RTFA.

        My larger point though is “WTF? The fucking Republican nominee’s wife admires the opposing party’s incumbent’s wife and shouts it out loud at the Convention.”

        1. I think all first ladies are supposed to act like they like the other first ladies.

          1. Sure, love like smiling at the garden party for autistic children love, not love like “the speech you gave at your husbands nomination inspired me so much” love.

          2. Imitation – the sincerest form of flattery.

            Remember JFK’s : “Ask not..”?

            Yeah, it was almost the motto at Choate when he was a teenager.

            So what? We take in things we think are right and repeat them. That’s called developing character.

        2. Read…an article? Have you not been around H&R before?! 🙂

          1. That would explain why so many refused to consider the possibility it was plagiarized in the first place.

          2. I actually meant to put a 🙂 in there somewhere.

    2. Joseph Biden announced that Malania Trump’s plagiarism is unacceptable.

      1. Frankly, I am much less concerned about the plagiarism as I am about the fact that Melania Trump admires Michelle Obama./i>!!

        It’s for sure now. No fucking way am I voting for Trump. 🙂

        1. Maybe Melania Trump is signaling she’s a Democrat?

          1. I could say that she’s unintentionally signalling something else but I would never be that unkind. 🙂

      2. I always admired Biden’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

    3. There was a lot of gnashing teeth here over how it was entirely possible all those words got strung together coincidentally.

      It was obvious once it was pointed out that it was taken directly from the MO speech. The question should have always been was it intentional and a work in progress for a Trump spin?

    4. That . . . actually sounds like the truth.

  9. World War 1 was sexist because too few women were put in trenches. No, wait, that’s not it. Oh, right: Battlefield 1 is sexist because you can’t play as a female soldier.

    1. So cis-hetero of them.

      Why can’t your “male” soldier just identify as a female? Problem solved!

    2. Lots of homos in the trenches though.

      1. Have you ever been to a war that wasn’t totally gay?

        Wait… that’s not how that goes.

      2. What goes on in the trenches, stays in the trenches. *sidles closer to princess trigger

      3. Being in the trenches was all dead butch!

    3. Oh, right: Battlefield 1 is sexist because you can’t play as a female soldier.

      Women have always been the primary victims of FPSs. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat. Women often have to flee from the only homes they have ever known. Women are often the refugees from conflict and sometimes, more frequently in today’s FPSs, victims. Women are often left with the responsibility, alone, of raising the children.

  10. “So which is it, GOP? Is Donald Trump correct that Kelo is a “wonderful” decision? Or is the Republican Platform correct that Kelo is an unconstitutional assault on the Fifth Amendment? You can only pick one.”

    Wouldn’t making it part of the platform answer the question? (I don’t know what, if anything, platforms mean today though)

    1. I’m also confused why dissent within a party is somehow a bad thing. I think it’s good that some Republicans are thinking twice about supporting kelo, even if Der Trump is all in for it.

    2. The fact that the 1988 LP platform had a solid pro-choice plank did not stop pro-life Ron Paul from being their nominee.

      1. Right, I was under the impression that Reason didn’t think too highly of purity tests in choosing political candidates.

    3. Get out of here with your nuanced response. Reason knows that all GOPpies must bend the knee to God-Emperor Trump on every issue because the Republican Party has lost its moral center. Or something.

  11. I wonder if Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has had the opportunity to read this section of the platform


  12. Don’t you mean Trump is a “huuuuge” admirer of Kelo, Damon?

  13. Public use is the criteria, Damon? It sure is.

    And yet, cat always seems to have your tongue when private oil companies use ED to confiscate land that owners don’t want to give up. In fact, I dare say that oil companies are maybe the biggest offender currently to use ED as public good rather than public use. Here is just one example in the last month.…..logistics/

    So which is it, Damon? ED for public use or just public good. I will warn you that if you choose the latter, Trump could make that argument if he is creating jobs with that lands.

    Choose one, Damon. You can’t have it both ways.

    1. I love it when you infer hypocrisy from the things that aren’t being said.

      Like, somewhere, in your basement, you’ve been taking notes of all the contradictions based on the articles you should have read, but didn’t, because they weren’t written. Which is all you need to know, or something.

      1. So let’s quote exactly what Damon said:

        He said Kelo was “undermining the Fifth Amendment “by allowing local governments to seize a person’s home or land not only for vital public use, but also for ‘public purpose,’ which thus allowed the government to seize it for transfer to private developers or other private entities.” Thus spoke Damon.

        And you see, dimwit, oil companies use ED because government allows them to take that land for only their private profit, and public purpose. Not public use. But maybe you’ll be the first Private citizen Sunoco will allow to use that pipeline. There is always hope, right?

        What I love is how you follow me around like a lap dog, with nothing cogent to say.

        Enjoy your evening!

        1. Yeah I got the complete lack of a susbanciated case of hypocrisy the first time.

          If you like, go again.

    2. Those oil pipelines are open to anyone willing to pay to transport their products, for the most part. That’s public use, just like driving on the roadz.

      Next question.

      1. They aren’t.

      2. Let’s take one example, Keystone. You know who owns those pipelines that have already been built? Trans Canada. They own it all. It’s their property. They do t have to let anyone use it, bug them.…

        Try again. But I’ll tell you, I’m sure the oil industry appreciates that you and Damon are in the bag for them. Congrats!

        1. Wrong. T APS iand others are privately owned but must accept product from all customers, usually on long term contracts.
          O you can’t dump a few gallons of non-conforming material into they stem.

          Check the Oil Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 and the Nat Gas Act of 1938.

          Highly permitted, regulated, rates controlled.

          There are lines for industrial gases as well.

          STFU, read, learn.

          1. Thanks for confirming private citizens can’t use it and would be forbidden. Therefore, dimwit #2, it’s not for public use, like a road which is used by you and your family as well as businesses, whereas at best only another oil business would be able to use it and even highly doubtful it EVER would occur.

            Really, Congrats once again for being a lackey for big oil.

          2. Tell you what, I’ll help you and link it. Last year in the Texas Rice case, even Texas courts are saying that oil companies will now need to PROVE their status as common carriers.

            “Rather, for an oil company to be considered a common carrier, the pipelines’ users must be more than the corporation funding the project or its subsequent affiliates; instead, the pipeline must be open to public use. Id. at 200. ”

            And you know why oil companies haven’t in the past proved it, and don’t want to
            Prove it now? Because they can’t.

            Here, read and educate yourself as to where you should stand, if in fact you were a true libertarian. But then, you proved you aren’t.

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