Supreme Court

John Paul Stevens Is Still Trying To Defend the Kelo Debacle

In his new memoir, the retired justice seeks to justify his awful eminent domain ruling.

|

John Paul Stevens has had it rough. In 2005, Stevens, then an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, authored one of the worst SCOTUS decisions of the past 50 years. Kelo v. City of New London let a local government bulldoze a working-class neighborhood so that private developers would have a blank slate on which to build a luxury hotel, a conference center, and various other upscale amenities. The city's goal was to erase that existing community via eminent domain and replace it with a new commercial district that would (maybe? hopefully?) fill the local coffers with more abundant tax dollars.

Stevens, the poor soul, has been catching hell for this lousy ruling ever since. Kelo is "the most un-American thing that can be done," declared Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California, an outspoken liberal. Her ideological opposite, conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, has said that Kelo "bastardized" the Constitution. "Government can kick the little guy out of his or her homes and sell those [homes] to a big developer," Limbaugh objected. Hating Kelo would seem to be the one thing that can bring a divided America together.

In 2011, about a year after he retired from the Supreme Court, Stevens apparently grew tired of the controversy and decided to respond to his critics. "The Kelo majority opinion remains unpopular," Stevens acknowledged in a speech at the University of Alabama School of Law. "Recently a commenter named Damon W. Root described the decision as the 'eminent domain debacle." In my defense, I only described Kelo as an eminent debacle because that's exactly what it is. The destructive ruling paved the way for atrocious real world consequences. It also further mangled the Takings Clause, which forbids the government from using eminent domain for anything less than a legitimate "public use," a concept that has traditionally been understood to apply to things like roads or bridges—not to swanky redevelopment schemes run by for-profit enterprises. But that constitutional requirement was lost in the eyes of Stevens. "The disposition of this case," he wrote in Kelo, "turns on the question whether the City's development plan serves a 'public purpose.'" Critics like Root, Stevens grumbled in 2011, "mis-described" the case.

Eight years have now gone by, and Stevens is apparently still suffering from the barbs of his Kelo critics. In his new memoir, The Making of a Justice: Reflections on My First 94 Years, which was published this week, Stevens again complains that "public commentary" by "Damon Root" and others gives short shrift to his judicial handiwork.

Stevens' principal defense of Kelo is that he had no choice, that his hands were tied. For one thing, he writes in The Making of a Justice, the Supreme Court "had a duty to give deference" to "the state courts' evaluation of the particular development plan that gave rise to the litigation." He is referring to the Connecticut Supreme Court's 2004 decision allowing the use of eminent domain to proceed against Susette Kelo and a number of her neighbors.

What Stevens neglects to mention is that Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Richard M. Palmer, one of the four justices who voted against the homeowners and thus directly precipitated their appeal to SCOTUS, personally apologized to Susette Kelo in 2010, saying he "would have voted differently" if only he knew better at the time. As reported by Jeff Benedict of The Hartford Courant, who was standing there when it happened, "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.'" So much for the wisdom of deferring to that state court.

Stevens also insists that he had a "duty to give deference" to the state legislature and the eminent domain law that it passed. In 2011, for instance, he argued that Kelo is valid because it "adhered to the doctrine of judicial restraint" and was rooted in "Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes' broad reading of the text of the Constitution—which allows the states the same broad discretion in making takings decisions that they possess when engaging in other forms of economic regulation." In his new memoir, Stevens' makes a similar point, likening Kelo to Justice Holmes' famous dissent in Lochner v. New York (1905), which claimed that federal judges should not be in the business of interfering with "the right of a majority to embody their opinions in law."

Of course, Holmes also famously deferred to the state of Virginia and its decision to forcibly sterilize seventeen-year-old Carrie Buck, who had been raped and impregnated by the nephew of her foster mother and committed to a state home for the "socially inadequate" by her foster parents. "The public welfare," Holmes wrote in Buck v. Bell (1927), may "call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices." Speaking of his overall philosophy of judging, Holmes once wrote that "a law should be called good if it reflects the will of the dominant forces of the community, even if it will take us to hell."

Personally, I'd think twice before invoking Holmes as a judicial role model. But, as is perhaps already clear, Stevens and I have somewhat different views about how federal judges are supposed to handle such constitutional cases.

A few paragraphs ago, I noted that Stevens' Kelo opinion has been attacked by figures on both sides of the political aisle. But there is at least one high-profile U.S. politician who thinks that Stevens got it right: Donald Trump. "I think it's a wonderful thing," Trump told Fox News about Kelo. "You need a house in a certain location, because you're going to build this massive development that's going to employ thousands of people, or you're going to build a factory, that without this little house, you can't build the factory—I think eminent domain is fine."

Trump has also attempted to profit from a Kelo-style taking. In 1994, Trump partnered with a New Jersey agency, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, in an effort to kick an elderly widow out of her Atlantic City home in order to make way for a new limousine parking lot for the Trump Plaza hotel and casino.

Just imagine what would have happened if that case had come before Justice John Paul Stevens and his pliant doctrine of deference. Thankfully, it came before the Superior Court of New Jersey, which laughed Trump out of court.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

Please to post comments

83 responses to “John Paul Stevens Is Still Trying To Defend the Kelo Debacle

  1. >>>Trump has also attempted to profit from a Kelo-style taking.

    was gonna say kicking Stevens around is barely fun anymore when it turned all TDS up in here

    1. Quoting Trump is not TDS you fucking moron.

      1. Get more butthurt about having TDS.

        1. Trump derangement syndrome = whatever the fuck Trump is suffering from. Probably comorbidity of NPD and dementia.

          1. Poor Tony. TDS affects him so much, he does not even know how to define what ails him.

            1. Tony is a flagellating moron of the first order.

          2. You are very sassy and witty. Ha ha ha.

      2. not knowing difference between quote and description of what person did in past makes you what then?

      3. When your article about Stevens suddenly turns into a criticism of Trump, you suffer from TDS. If every time you open your mouth to criticize politicians and always bring it back to Trump, you suffer from TDS.

  2. Did anyone expect Steven’s to admit to being wrong? It is not the sort of thing a Justice is going to do.

    1. You’ve got to give it about 50 years – that’s when they’ll start to consider that *one of the previous ones* might, possibly, if looked at in a certain way, could be wrong.

      1. I doubt Stevens will make it to Kelo’s 50 th anniversary.

        1. Only the good die young. Stevens may hit 200 just on that ruling alone.

    2. He’s wrong about Heller too. It’s good that he retired, it will be better when he dies and finally shuts the hell up.

      1. No, I want him to live long enough to see the court overturn the NFA. Him stroking out over that would be about right.

  3. “But that constitutional requirement was lost in the eyes of Stevens.”

    Lost, or just ignored?

    1. I’d say ignored. It would hardly be the only part of constitutional text he went out of his way to ignore, or turn on its head.

      Were there any real civil liberties he ever defended? I suppose there must have been. But he was pretty lousy on the first two.

  4. He just wrote an op-ed arguing that Heller was wrongly decided. Dementia is a terrible thing.

    1. Stevens thinks the entire Second Amendment is wrong, along with a few others. He clearly picks and chooses as to what deserves deference and what doesn’t.

    2. That op-ed was awful. MILITIA! SETTLED LAW! STARE DECISIS!

      He didn’t even bother to deliver any specific facts beyond pointing to one old SCOTUS case.

      1. … and the one old SCOTUS case Stevens ranted over, US v. Miller, was travesty in the first place. The most one sided ever… Miller had died in the meantime (apparently killed by the folks he had purchased the sawed-off for protection from), and there wasn’t even any attorney there arguing on his behalf. A fatal flaw… Miller’s stare decisis should be taken out back and shot.

        Oh, and yes, to answer a question posed by a justice in Miller… sawed-off shotguns do have a role in the organized militia of the USA… they were used by soldiers who entered Viet Cong tunnel complexes to clear them of combatants. We will never know if Miller (a scumbag deserving of life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, or at least life and an attorney to represent his interests) would have lived had he been allowed his chosen firearm.

    3. Stevens admitted that he Heller dissent was wrong (though he wont admit that he concedes that his dissent was wrong).

      He proposed an amendment to 2A to match his dissent – effectively acknowledging that the current 2A doesnt say what his dissent said.

  5. Stevens’ “deferment” to the local legislature is dumb on its face. Is he saying he’d punt a ruling on abortion if a state legislature passed a restriction which directly contradicted Roe V Wade?

    1. Which begs the question: would he have deferred to state legislators and courts when it came to slavery? Just extrapolating, of course…

      1. This “constitution doesn’t apply to the states” thing has never been fully explained to me.

        1. I’ll take a stab at it.

          The original understanding of the Constitution was that it and it alone defined what the Federal government could and could not do. And mostly, that document was written as what they could not do.

          For example, the Feds could not outlaw murder because (until the bastardization of the Commerce Clause) there is no grant to the Federal Legislature to make general laws. Even though murder is a really bad thing! It’s not in the Constitution so the Feds can’t pass that law.

          But the States can outlaw murder because they derive their authority from their own constitutions. In other words, the states are not subordinate forms of government, they are independent sovereigns. States could do whatever they wanted to do unless it was explicitly excluded in the Constitution. So States could not set up a monarchy because Article 4, Section 4 said so. But those restrictions were few.

          For another example, as written the First Amendment says “Congress shall pass no law…”. States could and did have state-level established religions. They weren’t violating the Constitution because those clauses simply weren’t binding on them. The plain wording said that it was a restriction on the Feds.

          All that changed with the passage of the 14th Amendment. Some of the clauses of the 14th directly addressed States and tied their hands on specific practices. But even broader was the Privileges and Immunities clause. That’s where we started to argue that States had to comply with federally recognized rights. But it doesn’t apply to everything. By its own wording, it’s limited to citizens. And the Supreme Court’s implementation of the Incorporation Doctrine has been gradual and haphazard at best.

          So parts of the Constitution apply to the States because the text directly says so. And parts apply to the States through the Privileges and Immunities clause. But other than those specific restrictions, States still retain their independent authority as separate and not-subordinate governments. That means they can still do some things that the Feds still can not.

          1. States cannot violate the enumerated items of the constitution…no matter what. The takings clause is one of those.

          2. “For example, the Feds could not outlaw murder because (until the bastardization of the Commerce Clause) there is no grant to the Federal Legislature to make general laws.”

            Minor quibble: In DC, and land purchased with the permission of a state legislature, (That part being routinely ignored by the courts.) the federal government rules as though it were a state, and has the authority to enact general laws, but only for those places.

            So, the federal government does actually have general police authority in some places. Just not where the states rule.

        2. Before the 14th Amendment, I could see an American saying that the 1st Amendment only applied to the federal government since it specifically calls out “Congress shall make no law….”

          The US Constitution obviously enumerates powers and restrictions between the federal government and the states. The 13 Founding states had state constitutions pretty much in line with rights protected in the BoR.

          The 14A made all US Citizens of any US State subject to and protected by the US Constitution, so that states have a minimum standard of protections that can never be changed from their state constitutions.

        3. It’s called the 14th Amendment. That amendment extends the basic protections of the citizens from the federal government to the state governments. Let me quote from it, since you flunked high school civics:

          “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

  6. Comrade John Paul Stevens, on behalf of the people, we will seize your estate for the good of all !!!

  7. So Stevens is still an asshole. When Maxine Waters and Rush Limbaugh agree there is a yuge disruption in the force, right DJT?

  8. And he is still trying to kill the 2nd Amendment by rewriting history. I was recently directed to the passage in the Dred Scott decision where Justice Taney wrote about what it would mean if the US Constitution was supreme to state law:

    It would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognised as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a white man would be punished; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went.

    SCOTUS understood in 1856 that “citizens in any one state of the union” are given the right to “keep and carry arms wherever they went.”

    Just a guess, but I would bet money that the only reason this was not cited in Miller or Heller is because of the eternal embarrassment that would result from their names on a decision citing Dred Scott, the singular most reviled decision ever. Justice Stevens knows this, but is willing to lie about history like any other Prog to make all the little Proggies feelz safer.

    My wish would be that the little pink house in Kelo would be swept up in a tornado and fall on Justice Stevens like the fucking Wicked Witch of the East. Unfortunately, they tore that house down and and nothing was ever built in its place. Regardless, Justice Stevens real legacy is state sponsored theft. Choke on that you ancient irrelevant fuck!

    1. Nice comment. Especially the part about Stevens as the Wicked Witch of the East getting a house dumped on him; nice touch of poetic justice there.

    2. *clap

    3. … Dred Scott, the singular most reviled decision ever …

      US v Cruikshank 92 U.S. 542 (1876) sucks really bad too.

      But it matched Stevens liking Justice Holmes’ dissent in Lochner claiming that federal judges should not interfere the right of a state legislature to embody their majority opinions in state law, federal constitution to the otherwise be ignored.

    4. Ah, yes, Taney’s parade of horribles from Dred Scott, my favorite. With the punchline in boldtext. Perfect.

      I just want the same rights Taney denied Mr. Scott, a recaptured slave. Is that really too much to ask?

      1. I just want the same rights Taney denied Mr. Scott, a recaptured slave. Is that really too much to ask?

        It is difficult to determine if your fallacy and sarcasm is intended as counterargument. I quoted Dred Scott in response to Justice Stevens (and other scholars) claims that Heller was a mistake and that there is no historical context in which it can be shown that the intent of the 2A is to prohibit infringement of a citizen’s right to keep and bear arms. That claim is demonstrably false.

        Dred Scott contains an unambiguous statement that places keep and carry arms wherever they went as the ultimate right in a list of other much argued and well understood individual rights. Why would outrage over that decision negate this enumeration of individual rights from the historical context? The fact that Chief Justice Taney placed this list directly within a discussion of what it would mean if the US Constitution were supreme to state law borders on serendipitous

        Justice Stevens and other scholars completely disregard Dred Scott, counting on the controversial nature of that specific decision and the heckler’s veto to cover their omission. You have adequately demonstrated exactly that phenomena with your asinine comment intended to derail the conversation.

  9. When will these old Socialists just fucking die already.

    1. Like Trump, as quoted in the article, a supporter of the Kelo decision?

      1. I doubt Trump gives a fuck about Kelo, he’s an opportunist.

        1. Who the fuck might you be, silly little propagandist?

          1. The main propagandists around here are reason staff and YOU, Tony.

          2. He happens to be right. Trump really isn’t an ideologue. The guy is a pragmatist, and as a businessman an opportunist of the first order. You’re too blinded by tribal hate to see things like that.

            Stupid bitch.

            1. Right, I believe he once said that he didn’t write the laws, he just did business under them.

      2. Poor Tony does not like that Trump uses the law that has been okayed by government to his advantage.

        Just like all of us.

        All this time and nobody, even Tony, has come up with a single illegal thing that Trump has done. Ever. I dont think Trump has even ever gotten a speeding ticket, since he probably never drives.

  10. Yeah, Stevens was all about deferring to state legislatures. “States Rights Stevens,” they called him.

    /sarc

  11. At least I can dare hope there’s juicy stuff in the memoir? Kissing and telling? Dishing on other judges?

  12. And finally…dare we hope that the Holmes cult is collapsing among those lawyers and judges who are under 94?

    Now that progs have discovered that they were against eugenic sterilization all along (“we have always been at war with Eastasia”), they are ripping on Holmes as the Sterilizer-in-Chief.

    Mencken (an atheist Nietzschian like Holmes but with more reverence for the Bill of Rights) had Holmes’ number – OWH wasn’t a crusader for civil liberties but a gruff old soldier who acquired so much cynicism on the battlefield it made Mencken look like a Hallmark card.

  13. Stevens thinks your rights are determined by whether you pay more taxes than the other guy that wants your property. And if you don’t like it, he doesn’t want to own any guns to put up a fuss.

    1. Stevens was never a fan of having to be scared of an armed populace that could fight back.

      All politicians and bureaucrats should be scared of pissed off armed populace.

  14. Stevens wrote the opinion, but he did so on behalf of Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer.

  15. The worst SC Justice in my lifetime.

  16. Embarrassment is his middle name as most of his legal career is – or should be – an embarrassment.

  17. I quickly checked and I don’t think “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution” by John Paul Stevens mentions the Fifth ( … nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation) in re Kelo.

    Damon writes that, in his memoir, Stevens likens “… Kelo to Justice Holmes’ famous dissent in Lochner v. New York (1905), which claimed that federal judges should not be in the business of interfering with “the right of a majority to embody their opinions in law.”

    Uh. I thought one duty of the Supreme Court was to protect the constitutional rights of everyone, especially minorities, from a majority imposing unconstitutional laws. Unconstitutional oughta mean unjustified. Period.

    The duty of the Supreme Court is to not interfere with the right of a majority to embody their opinions in law?

    Were US v Guest 383 U.S. 745 (1966) and US v Price 383 U.S. 787 (1966) wrongly decided? After all, they damaged US v Cruikshank 92 U.S. 542 (1876) as much as Heller ’08 and McDonald ’10.

    1. No gun for you! No little pink house for you!
      — the Gun and Little Pink House Nazi

      1. John Cougar Nazicamp?

  18. I love how the article and commenters quote Maxine Waters and Trump to try to pretend that this issue is bipartisan.

    The truth is that the Kelo decision was the 4 solid liberals (Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer) joined by that squishy swing vote (Kennedy) vs. the 3 solid conservatives and a squishy swing vote: Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas, plus O’Connor.

    Once again, leftists with libertarian sympathies bend over backwards to pretend that the Left isn’t essentially totalitarian.

    1. Souter was recommended as a solid conservative by John Sununu. He sure came out of that closet quick enough.

      1. I’m of the opinion that the GOP had been getting bad Supreme court picks because their Presidents and Senators weren’t nearly as conservative as they had to pretend in public, and judicial nominations were a handy place to screw the base over.

        Trump horrifies them because he’s functionally more conservative than he probably is ideologically, because he doesn’t view screwing over the party’s base as a smart move.

  19. If I had my way, this would be the first judge to ever have his dick skinned in public, then forced to eat his freshly removed dick skin.

    Fuck him and everybody who thinks like him.

  20. Stevens father owned the Steven’s hotel, now the Conrad Hilton. His family
    were all over business and real estate in Chicago. I think the fuck the little guy attitude was part of his DNA.

  21. Fuck you, John Paul, you had absolutely NO DUTY to defer to other governmental branches shitting on the Constitution, and in fact EVERY DUTY to dial that back.

  22. Stevens and Souter were/are fucking assholes….

  23. federal judges should not be in the business of interfering with “the right of a majority to embody their opinions in law.”

    Jesus, that’s the whole point of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights — to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority.

    1. Amen

  24. Kelo was an insult to america. As was JPS.

  25. Kelo is the most prominent example. But how about for sports stadiums. Professional sports a big money entertainment business should buy their own property and build their own stadiums and arenas. But many in the public support “their” teams. Far more than they realize.

  26. While Stevens is an ass, and his castigation of Heller is ludicrous, i’m not sure Kelo was decided wrongly.

    “In “Kelo v City of New London (2005) SCOTUS ruled that taking land from one private party to give it to another private party is a valid public use under the Takings Clause. The Takings Clause, the last clause of the Fifth Amendment, requires that “just compensation” be paid if private property is taken for public use.

    The City of New London had condemned Suzette Kelo’s little pink house so that a private developer could build an office park that would ostensibly generate increased tax revenue.

    Kelo captured people’s attention because it was relate-able; this was somebody’s home being given to private developers for a flimsy public benefit.

    There is little doubt that forcing Suzanne Kelo from her home was wrong in the sense that it offends our sensibilities. The image of the New London City Council using its condemnation power to transfer land from an unwilling seller to greedy private developers in return for the potential of additional tax dollars strikes us as corrupt, even if it is not technically so.

    On the other hand, If Suzette Kelo is paid fair market price for her property, is there really a constitutional issue involved? There are far more egregious land use decisions – Lucas comes to mind – where the court has affirmed the government’s right to destroy (almost all) of the value of property without compensation, i.e. you can own the lot, but you can’t build anything on it. The property owner is denied virtually all the economic value of the property, yet neither condemnation nor compensation take place. (Lucas was a mixed bag. The Court correctly decided Lucas was entitled to compensation based on a total taking, but left the door open for states to impose anything short of a total taking without compensation.)

    In Kelo, the issue wasn’t ‘just compensation,’ it was what constituted ‘public use.’ Many people, (the author included) are hesitant to include economic development within ‘public use.’ Defining public use so broadly empowers often corrupt or misguided bureaucrats and their actions tend to have a disproportionate impact on lower income communities.

    Still, before diving down the rat-hole of attempting to define what is and isn’t public use under the Constitution, we need to identify an end game. Constitutional issues should present bright lines – a framework where something is clearly constitutional or it is not. Otherwise we end up with obscenity jurisprudence – Justice Potter Stewart’s ‘I can’t define pornography but i know it when I see it,’ which is arguably more obscene as a statement from the bench than the material it seeks to categorize.

    In the case of what constitutes public use, where does one draw the line? Would an involuntary condemnation have been acceptable for a hospital? A sports stadium? A pipeline? A privately owned turnpike? In each instance, there is a credible argument on either side of the question. And as long as the property owner is justly compensated, the benefit of trying to parse ‘public use’ may be dwarfed by the cost.

    In the end, the Justices likely ruled correctly. Kelo is evidence that not every wrong is unconstitutional and that just because something is constitutional doesn’t mean it is good public policy.”

    1. “The City of New London had condemned Suzette Kelo’s little pink house so that a private developer could build an office park”

      Exactly. The pink house wasn’t condemned because it was a dangerous structure, presenting a danger to the community. It was condemned by bought and paid for politicians by a politically connected developer. Your own words perfectly describe corruption, yet you seem to think the ruling was okay.

      “On the other hand, If Suzette Kelo is paid fair market price for her property, is there really a constitutional issue involved?”

      The actual wording of the fifth amendment: nor shall private property be taken for PUBLIC USE, without just compensation.

      FYI, private use is the opposite of public use. It’s amazing you can clearly read the last clause of the amendment, but not the one preceding it.

      “In the case of what constitutes public use, where does one draw the line?”

      This case doesn’t even come close to the gray area of public use. The ENTIRE point of the ruling, as you noted, was for a PRIVATE developer.

      “Would an involuntary condemnation have been acceptable for a hospital? A sports stadium? A pipeline? A privately owned turnpike?”

      You’re a moron.

    2. The evident corruption wasn’t a Constitutional issue. It’s largely a fact-based issue, and the Supreme Court generally assumes that the lower courts considered the facts correctly, because a SC hearing is not a trial. The last “fact” I recall being developed at the SC level was the assertion in _Miller_ that a sawed-off shotgun was not a military weapon – and most men who’d fought in the trenches in WWI knew that “fact” was incorrect.

      Where Stevens is at fault is for twisting “public use” to mean “extracting more taxes from the public”, in a decision that had more to do with the law he wanted than with the letter of the law. And _wanting_ that result means he was hopelessly morally corrupt.

      But I already knew that from something Stevens wrote long before he was appointed to the Supreme Court. He was on the codebreaking team that found an opportunity to shoot down Admiral Yamamoto’s transport plane, and he agonized about sending fighters out to kill one man. That is, he would have had no trouble with sending out the fighters to intercept a troop transport and kill 50 privates, but killing someone _important_, who was worth 10,000 privates, was somehow morally suspect.

      Stevens could not see that his decision supported corruption, because he genuinely believed that _important_ people like the politicians and corporate executives who thought they would benefit deserved better than people like Susette Kelo. He wrote his opinion for four other “Justices”, but he was the man to take the point because there was no chance of him noticing that this result was evil. I can easily understand why Nixon appointed this evil man as a federal judge, but how did he fool Gerald Ford?

      1. That’s interesting. I knew he was a depraved son of a bitch, but that’s a new low. In war, the most moral thing you can do is kill those at the top of the enemy’s chain of command to bring the war to an end as quickly as possible.

        Yamamoto in particular was personally culpable for thousands of murders at Pearl Harbor, because Japan had failed to deliver a declaration of war before attacking. Hirohito also deserved to be extradited to China to be executed in Nanjing, in the most prolonged and painful manner they could devise.

        -jcr

    3. On the other hand, If Suzette Kelo is paid fair market price for her property, is there really a constitutional issue involved?

      Yes, because the court usurped the power to steal her property on an entirely new pretext: that paying more tax is enough to claim that the taking is for a “public purpose”, which was obviously bullshit on its face.

      The tax-dependent shysters who fucked over Kelo are every bit as guilty as those who fucked over Korematsu or Dred Scott. If we had a functioning justice system in this country, they’d have been deposed, disbarred, and ended their lives starving on the streets as pariahs.

      -jcr

  27. I like how an article about Stevens morphed into an article about Trump. TDS is incurable for the intellectually bankrupt.

  28. He was the court’s super liberal activist judge, and a disgrace.

    Ideological leanings of United States Supreme Court justices (graph)

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

  29. Why do we have to rely on courts so much? Why is every body sofa king stupid that they vote for legislators and executives who steal their property? By the time it gets to court, of course it’s toofa king late. Sheesh.

  30. Suzette Kelo is too well-mannered to do so, but if I ever have occasion to meet Richard M. Palmer, I will tell him to go fuck himself. He utterly failed his paramount duty to uphold justice.

    -jcr

  31. […] Root writes for Reason that former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens remains unrepentant about one […]

  32. Look at the bright side. Now, in Junta-controlled dictatorships, field marshals and archbishops can order entire neighborhoods bulldozed for Churches, sawmills and military installations. Following the example from the Land of the Free Lunch, any who dare criticize can be branded anti-American terrorists before being beaten and thrown into stinking dungeons. Hizzonner helped ‘Murrica raise the bar for the rest of humanity!

Comments are closed.