Tag Archive: Abuse of Authority


Nine Years After Kelo, The Seized Land Is Empty

 

 

 

” Nine years after the Supreme Court’s Kelo decision gutted the right of American property owners to resist eminent-domain seizures, the neighborhood at the center of the case remains a wasteland.”

 

 

 

 

    Meet American hero Suzette Kelo , a woman who , though she ultimately lost her case and her home , fought the good fight for all Americans and our property rights . This is her story .

 

 

   The Supreme Court ruling 5-4 in favor of the New London Development Corp was intended to provide land , waterfront mind you , for Pfizer pharmaceuticals to build new offices with the hopes of bringing many new jobs to the City of New London . It didn’t work out that way as Pfizer backed out and a few years later actually left New London altogether .

 

” Fort Trumbull in New London, Conn., was bulldozed to fulfill the vision of politicians and developers eager to create a New Urbanist mixed-use “hub” for upscale living in the depressed town near the mouth of Long Island Sound.”

   

 

 

” But after nearly a decade, the land is nothing but vacant urban prairie. After homeowners were forced off their property for the sake of “economic development,” the city’s original development deal fell apart, and the urban-renewal corporation that ordered the destruction has not found a developer to use the land.”

 

 

 

 

   The turning of the corner in the battle for individual property rights , this ruling allowed the State to force private landholders to sell for the benefit of other , better connected , private citizens . A truly disgraceful ruling that the Supreme Court should be ashamed of .

 

 

” Traditionally, these transfers of property, or eminent domain, had only allowed governments to acquire private lands in order to build a public structure like a school or highway. The Constitution permits seizures for such instances of “public use,” but the Supreme Court decision expanded that power to allow governments to acquire people’s land with “just compensation” for a “public purpose,” which in Kelo meant the government’s belief that a different owner might bring in more tax revenue.”

 

 

The opinion of the Court was decided thusly :

 

 

Majority and concurring

” On June 23, 2005, the Supreme Court, in a 5–4 decision, ruled in favor of the City of New London. Justice Stevens wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Anthony KennedyDavid SouterRuth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Justice Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion setting out a more detailed standard for judicial review of economic development takings than that found in Stevens’s majority opinion. In so doing, Justice Kennedy contributed to the Court’s trend of turning minimum scrutiny—the idea that government policy need only bear a rational relation to a legitimate government purpose—into a fact-based test.

  In Hawaii Housing Authority v. Midkiff, 467 US 229 (1984), the Court had said that the government purpose under minimum scrutiny need only be “conceivable which, practically speaking, is no standard at all because, as demonstrated by countless science fiction writers, anything is conceivable.” In two 1996 cases the Court clarified that concept. InRomer v. Evans, 517 US 620, the Court said that the government purpose must be “independent and legitimate.” And in United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515, the Court said the government purpose “must be genuine, not hypothesized or invented post hoc in response to litigation.” Thus, the Court made it clear that, in the scrutiny regime established in West Coast Hotel v. Parrish, 300 US 379 (1937), government purpose is a question of fact for the trier of fact.

  Kennedy fleshed out this doctrine in his Kelo concurring opinion; he sets out a program of civil discovery in the context of a challenge to an assertion of government purpose. However, he does not explicitly limit these criteria to eminent domain, nor to minimum scrutiny, suggesting that they may be generalized to all health and welfare regulation in the scrutiny regime. Because Kennedy signed on to the Court’s majority opinion, his concurrence is not binding on lower courts. He wrote:

  A court confronted with a plausible accusation of impermissible favoritism to private parties should [conduct]… a careful and extensive inquiry into ‘whether, in fact, the development plan [chronology]

[1.] is of primary benefit to… the developer… and private businesses which may eventually locate in the plan area…

[2.] and in that regard, only of incidental benefit to the city…’”

Kennedy is also interested in facts of the chronology which show, with respect to government,

[3.] awareness of… depressed economic condition and evidence corroborating the validity of this concern…

[4.] the substantial commitment of public funds… before most of the private beneficiaries were know…

[5.] evidence that [government] reviewed a variety of development plan…

[6.] [government] chose a private developer from a group of applicants rather than picking out a particular transferee beforehand and…

[7.] other private beneficiaries of the project [were]… unknown [to government] because the… space proposed to be built [had] not yet been rented…

  Kelo v. City of New London did not establish entirely new law concerning eminent domain. Although the decision was controversial, it was not the first time “public use” had been interpreted by the Supreme Court as “public purpose”. In the majority opinion, Justice Stevens wrote the “Court long ago rejected any literal requirement that condemned property be put into use for the general public” (545 U.S. 469). Thus precedent played an important role in the 5-4 decision of the Supreme Court. The Fifth Amendment was interpreted the same way as in Midkiff (467 U.S. 229) and other earlier eminent domain cases. However in those earlier cases the court justified the use of eminent domain on the basis of elimination of social harms such as barriers to efficient exploitation of agricultural and mineral-bearing land, elimination of slums, or large-scale title misallocation. None of these factors were present in Kelo; it was a case in which the city merely wanted to increase its tax revenues, and attract a wealthier population in place of the lower middle class home owners in the redevelopment project area.”

 

 

The dissenting Justices had this to say :

 

” The principal dissent was issued on 25 June 2005 by Justice O’Connor, joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas. The dissenting opinion suggested that the use of this taking power in a reverse Robin Hood fashion— take from the poor, give to the rich— would become the norm, not the exception:

Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms.

  O’Connor argued that the decision eliminates “any distinction between private and public use of property — and thereby effectively delete[s] the words ‘for public use’ from the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.” 125 S.Ct. 2655, 2671.

  Thomas also issued a separate originalist dissent, in which he argued that the precedents the court’s decision relied upon were flawed. He accuses the majority of replacing the Fifth Amendment’s “Public Use” clause with a very different “public purpose” test:

This deferential shift in phraseology enables the Court to hold, against all common sense, that a costly urban-renewal project whose stated purpose is a vague promise of new jobs and increased tax revenue, but which is also suspiciously agreeable to the Pfizer Corporation, is for a ‘public use.’

  Thomas additionally observed:

Something has gone seriously awry with this Court’s interpretation of the Constitution. Though citizens are safe from the government in their homes, the homes themselves are not.545 U.S. 469, 518 (2005)

  Thomas also made use of the argument presented in the NAACP/AARP/SCLC/SJLS amicus brief on behalf of three low-income residents’ groups fighting redevelopment in New Jersey, noting:

Allowing the government to take property solely for public purposes is bad enough, but extending the concept of public purpose to encompass any economically beneficial goal guarantees that these losses will fall disproportionately on poor communities. Those communities are not only systematically less likely to put their lands to the highest and best social use, but are also the least politically powerful.”

 

 

    This video from 2007 offers a discussion of the on-going affects of the Kelo decision from Duke university and a panel of property law experts …

 

 

 

 

 

 

    For further reading on the travesty of justice that is the Kelo decision and the continuing abuse of eminent domain by the State and the courts check out the Institute for Justice , which represented Ms Kelo and Ms Dery , the Cato Institute , Civil Liberty , Cornell University Law , Harvard Law , &  The Bill Of Rights Institute . 

    Here is the transcript of oral arguments presented by Scott G Bullock Esq. on behalf of the plaintiffs and here is a history of recent  eminent domain abuse for commercial gain from the Law Review at UC Davis .

 

   The Founders recognized private property rights as equally important to the liberty of citizens as freedom of speech and the right to bear arms  , for without the legal assurance of the natural right to keep and benefit from the fruits of one’s own labors the citizenry become nothing more than serfs .

   With that in mind we will close this post with some words of wisdom from the Founders that demonstrate just how far from their ideals this nation has fallen …

 

 

John Adams had this to say :

” The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the law of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.”

 

James Madison on the legitimate role of government :

” Government is instituted to protect property of every sort. … This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.”

We’ll let Thomas Jefferson have the last word on the subject of private property and takings :

“Nothing is ours, which another may deprive us of.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Warren, Michigan, Cop Slices Off Young Mother’s Hair Weave

 

 

” A police officer in Michigan put a young mother into a restraining chair and hacked off her hair weave.

  7 Action News Investigator had exclusive video of the officer shoving Charda Gregory, restraining her, and then using scissors to cut out the artificial hair that was sewn into a braid on Gregory’s scalp. 

 By the time she was brought in to the jail lock-up on the top floor of the Warren Police Department, Gregory had been pepper sprayed, but she appears calm. 

  It’s clear in the video that Gregory can barely stand as she comes face to face with Officer Bernadette Najor. 

“ She took it upon herself to get the scissors.  And for whatever reason, decided that she was going to butcher my client,” said Misukewicz.

  As Officer Najor pats Gregory down, the officer pushes Gregory against the wall twice.

  Suddenly Najor starts going for Gregory’s hair.  The officers struggle with Gregory, dragging her over to a restraining chair to tie down her arms and legs.

  Officer Najor starts yanking Gregory’s head from side to side, chopping out chunks of hair.  It takes 3 full minutes before Najor gives one final yank and removes what’s left of Gregory’s weave.

Gregory tells us in some places she now has bald spots because Najor ripped her real hair out by the roots.”

 

The investigation continues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

—-

 

 

And Yes, We Were Laughing. Confessions Of An Ex-TSA Agent

 

 

 

 

 

” My pained relationship with government security had started three years earlier. I had just returned to Chicago to finish my bachelor’s degree after a two-year stint in Florida. I needed a job to help pay my way through school, and the TSA’s call-back was the first one I received. It was just a temporary thing, I told myself—side income for a year or two as I worked toward a degree in creative writing. It wasn’t like a recession would come along and lock me into the job or anything.

  It was May 2007. I was living with a bohemian set on Chicago’s north side, a crowd ranging from Foucault-fixated college kids to middle-aged Bukowski-bred alcoholics. We drank and talked politics on the balcony in the evenings, pausing only to sneer at hipsters strumming back-porch Beatles sing-a-longs. By night, I took part in barbed criticism of U.S foreign policy; by day, I spent eight hours at O’Hare in a federal uniform, solemnly carrying out orders passed down from headquarters.

  I hated it from the beginning. It was a job that had me patting down the crotches of children, the elderly and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show. I confiscated jars of homemade apple butter on the pretense that they could pose threats to national security. I was even required to confiscate nail clippers from airline pilots—the implied logic being that pilots could use the nail clippers to hijack the very planes they were flying.”

   Learn more about the cretinous behavior of our “protectors” from someone who was there , and you can further enlighten yourself to the massive abuses of the TSA at Master List of TSA Crimes and Abuses .

   In the interests of fairness we should point out that the TSA has offered a rebuttal of ex-agent Harrington’s claims reported on by the Daily Caller , an excerpt of which can be found below .

 

” “Every passenger deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) policy upholds this standard. TSA does not tolerate any form of unethical or unlawful behavior by its employees and takes swift disciplinary action if discovered,” he added.”

 

 

   Ah yes , “dignity and respect” , is that what this is called ?

 

 

 

 

” In his article Harrington details how TSA agents gawked at the nude images of passengers in the recently eliminated “nude” body-scanners, how agents were instructed to profile people from Middle Eastern countries (excluding Pakistan and Saudi Arabia), that agents would use pat downs as retaliation for rudeness, and the fact that even TSA employees lacked confidence in the system.”

 

 

As with all things State once they are caught , the mea culpa is acknowledged along with the predictable promise that “things are different now ” …. Sure

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roadside Violation: Drivers, Passengers Say Police Searched Inside Underpants

 

 

GA Police Roadside Strip Searches

 

 

 

” Officers are supposed to pull drivers over for traffic violations, but a Channel 2 Action News investigation found traffic stops leading to a violation of another kind.
    
  Driver after driver told investigative reporter Jodie Fleischer officers searched inside their pants while they were stopped for minor traffic violations. In several cases, the invasive searches targeted passengers who were riding in the car.  
           
” He was like, ‘Just unbuckle all your clothes,’ and put his hands down inside my pants,” said Terry Phillips.
           
  Forest Park police had pulled over Phillips’ wife for a suspended registration.
           
  Phillips consented to a search. However on the officer’s dashboard camera recording Phillips can clearly be heard protesting when he realized the extent of the officer’s intentions.
           
” That’s illegal, man, you can’t do that. You can’t do that,” said Phillips to the officer. The officer continued.
           
  Phillips filed a complaint with the Forest Park Police Department and hired an attorney.”

 

 

 

Read much more on this blatant and widespread abuse of authority by the Forest Park PD .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charges To Be Dropped In Clark County Jail Case; Lawsuit Moving Forward

 

 

 

 

” Charges against a Jeffersonville woman who spent five months in jail for a 48-hour sentence are expected to dropped while she moves ahead with filing a civil lawsuit against Clark County for her lengthy incarceration.

  Destiny Hoffman, 34, was released from the Michael L. Becher Adult Correctional Complex on Thursday, a day after Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Michaelia Gilbert discovered her status as an inmate while reviewing old case files.

  Hoffman was a participant in the Clark County Drug Court Treatment Program, and her 154-day incarceration resulted from Clark County Circuit Court No. 2 Judge Jerry Jacobi, who oversees the drug court, issuing a two-day sanction and never notifying jail staff to release her from the facility.

“ All charges will be dismissed against Ms. Hoffman. She will have no further requirements to attend drug court or probation. Her cases are, basically, finished,” said Nathan Masingo, Hoffman’s public defender.

  Masingo said he expects Hoffman will file a civil complaint that could result in Clark County taxpayers paying for the blunder that kept her behind bars from Aug. 22 to Jan. 23.

“ She met with an attorney today,” Masingo said Monday. “She will be suing the [Clark] county civilly for violation of her constitutional rights.” “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The ugly attacks on my family highlight media double standard

“In recent weeks my family has come under relentless attack from the White House political operation, elements of the Democratic Party and organizations and media outlets supported by some of the Democrats’ wealthiest donors.

These attacks stem sadly from one main reason: our support for the Republican presidential candidate as well as other Republican candidates.

Too often there is a media double standard in our country based on situational ethics. The president’s supporters are treated one way while those who might challenge his leadership are treated in another.

This is hypocrisy. “

Handy Police State Map

The people at Reason have thoughtfully put together an interactive map of police misconduct nationwide . Check it out if you are at all concerned with the creeping authoritarianism rampant in America today .

See what's happening near you!

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