Sunday, February 09, 2014

Lessons from Kelo, the Eminent Domain Case That Wiped Out an American Neighborhood

Revisiting a notorious Supreme Court ruling

In its 2005 decision in Kelo v. City of New London, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a Connecticut municipality to forcibly condemn multiple private properties in a well-tended working-class neighborhood in order to clear space for the construction of various upscale amenities, including a luxury hotel, office towers, and apartments. According to the majority opinion of Justice John Paul Stevens, this seizure of private property counted as a legitimate “public purpose” under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment because the city’s eminent domain proceedings were part of a “comprehensive” redevelopment scheme that was carefully designed to bring “appreciable benefits to the community.”

How did that work out? Writing in the latest issue of The Weekly Standard, Charlotte Allen describes a recent visit to Fort Trumbull, the New London neighborhood that was bulldozed thanks to the Kelo ruling. It is now the city’s “most desolate neighborhood,” she writes. “Actually, ex-neighborhood, for there was not a residential property standing on the entire tract.”

Credit: Institute for JusticeCredit: Institute for JusticeAs we’ve previously reported here at Reason, Kelo was a colossal failure on all counts. Despite prevailing at the Supreme Court, New London’s redevelopment plan was scrapped, the razed neighborhood was never rebuilt, and the Pfizer corporation, which inspired the whole saga by inking the original real estate deal that led New London to set its sites on Fort Trumbull, pulled out of the city entirely in 2009. After Hurricane Irene blew through town a couple years later, New London urged city residents to use Susette Kelo’s barren former neighborhood as a dump site for storm refuse.

In her piece, Allen makes the case that Kelo is “something more than the story of a particularly nasty and overbearing abuse of either eminent domain or government power in general. It was also a tragedy,” she maintains, “with all the classical Greek elements: hubris, turn of fortune, cathartic downfall, and possibly the ‘learning through suffering’ that Aristotle in his Poetics argued was the point of tragic drama.”

That's certainly a plausible interpretation of the case. But there’s also at least one major player in this tragedy who has yet to show any signs of learning his lesson: Justice John Paul Stevens.

In his 2011 memoir Five Chiefs, Stevens discussed many of the big cases that he encountered during his long tenure on the bench (he was appointed in 1975 and retired in 2010), including District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010). But Kelo goes entirely unmentioned in the book, despite the extraordinary public backlash sparked by his controversial majority opinion. I criticized him for this absence at the time, and Stevens later responded to my critique, though his defense left a lot to be desired. In essence, Stevens asserted that Kelo was any easy case since it “adhered to the doctrine of judicial restraint, which allows state legislatures broad latitude in making economic policy decisions in their respective jurisdictions.”

Perhaps a future Supreme Court will learn from Stevens’ example and avoid another tragedy.


'Leaking like a sieve': Furious judge's verdict on Britain's borders as he jails Albanian Muslim drug dealer who has strolled back into the UK after being deported THREE times

A judge has described the UK’s borders as 'a leaking sieve' after an illegal immigrant drug dealer was deported three times only to return each time to commit more crimes.

Albanian national Baksim Bushati, 37, was sentenced to seven years in prison after he was found to have almost 1kg of cocaine worth £26,875 and £14,000 in cash at his home.

Since 2005, he has been sentenced to prison terms totalling nearly five years for offences of violence, battery and possessing false identification.

Despite being deported from the UK following each jail term, he returned to commit more crimes.

Yesterday, Judge Richard Bray criticised the Government as he sentenced Bushati to his latest prison stretch, saying the UK’s borders 'leaked like a sieve.'  'These things make a classic study for people who want to see if the Home Office and the Border Agency are doing their jobs properly,' the judge told Northampton Crown Court.

'It just shows how powerless they appear to be. They are hopelessly undermanned and that is what has caused this situation.  'It is our duty to point this out so the public are aware of it.

'As I have been saying for the last 10 years, it is a very serious problem which is simply not being dealt with.  'Our defences to illegal immigrants are leaking like a sieve. I can only hope you will be successfully deported on this occasion.'

For his latest offence, Bushati, from Weedon, Northamptonshire, jumped out of a moving car to try and evade capture on December 17 last year before he was stopped by police dogs.

Jonathan Eley, prosecuting, said Bushati, who admitted possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply, was found with £960 cash, Albanian identification documents and two mobile phones.

Bushati was first jailed in the UK for three-and-a-half years in 2005 before being deported back to Albania on his release from prison.  But he managed to sneak back into Britain and in September 2010 he was sent to prison for 54 weeks for possession of false identification documents.

Last year it was revealed that the now defunct UK Border Agency was dealing with a backlog of 320,000 cases, which was expected to take more than 20 years to clear.

Former chief Tony Smith blamed the problem on an influx of illegal immigrants who arrived in the UK between 2000 and 2003, many of whom have since changed their names and become untraceable.

The agency has now been split into two sections, one to deal with immigration visas and one to deal with immigration law enforcement, which operates as Border Force.


Weak British law provokes vigilante action

Token sentences for Muslims attempting to enforce Sharia law in Britain provoke outrage.  Some rough guys dare the Muslim "patrols" to take them on

Scotland Yard is investigating a far-right group after members launched 'Christian patrols' to 'draw out' and confront Muslims by drinking and smoking outside one of Britain's biggest mosques.

Vigilantes from Britain First, a group led by a former BNP linchpin, filmed themselves on Brick Lane in east London and told Asian men: 'This is our country. You want to live here, you adhere by our laws'.

The group says it is a response to 'Muslim patrols' that walked the area and warned couples holding hands, uncovered women or those drinking it was a 'Muslim area' and they faced 'hell fire'.

Three members were jailed at the Old Bailey last month for repeatedly trying to enforce Sharia law.

Britain First chairman Paul Golding, a former BNP councillor, said they were using members with cans of lager as 'bait' for Muslims outside the East London Mosque in Whitechapel.

'This is going to be a regular thing. We’re going to be out there every weekend to draw out these "Muslim Patrols",' he said after the footage emerged.

Golding is currently on bail for alleged harassment of hate preacher Anjem Choudary, who has been a vocal backer of 'Muslim Patrols'.

The video also shows him and his 15 supporters entering the East End in Gulf War vehicles and then later unfurling a banner outside the mosque that said 'resistance'.

It ends without any confrontation but uses an image of murdered soldier Lee Rigby, along with the message: 'The day Lee Rigby was murdered, thousands of patriots were born. The fightback has begun'.

The Bishop of Stepney, Rt Rev Adrian Newman, said: 'East London is proud of its generous attitude to diversity, based on tolerance and respect.  'There is no place for vigilante patrols, Christian, Muslim or any other faith, on the streets of Tower Hamlets.'

A spokesman for the East London Mosque called Britain First 'neo-Nazis'.  'Britain First’s patrol does not represent Christians, just as al-Muhajiroun’s patrols did not represent Muslims. Both are tiny, extreme groups, unwelcome in our community,' he said.

'We will not let those who espouse hatred damage our wonderful community relations.'

Jordan Horner, 19, Ricardo MacFarlane, 36, and a 23-year-old man who cannot be named for legal reasons were sentenced to 68 weeks, 12 months and 24 weeks in prison respectively for their Muslim Patrols.

The Old Bailey heard that in December 2012 Horner and the 23-year-old man drove alongside a couple and shouted: 'Let go of each other's hands. This is a Muslim area!'.

They stopped holding hands after the men repeated the message - and when they started again, the car blocked their way until they let go.

Two weeks later, Horner and MacFarlane attacked men drinking in Shoreditch, shouting: 'Kill the non-believers.'

Horner then punched two of the group, hitting James Forward in the jaw and knocking out Patrick Kavanagh with a sucker punch to the head.

On January 13, Horner and the 23-year-old harassed another couple, Clare Coyle and Robert Gray, as they were walking in Stepney - accusing Miss Coyle of being a 'slag'.

In an exchange filmed on Horner's phone, she replied, 'This is Great Britain. I can dress how I wish,' while the group shouted: 'Remove yourselves now. Muslim Patrol. Move away from the mosque.'


Yet another false rape claim from Britain

A cheating wife who cried rape in a bid to keep a six-year affair secret from her husband just a month after their wedding has avoided jail.

Unfaithful Jessica Gore, 32, had only been married to partner Darren, 41, for four weeks when she arrived home later than expected last September.  The newly-wed mother-of-two claimed she had been attacked by a stranger as she walked home from babysitting for a friend.  Her worried husband immediately told her to contact police and report the crime.

Her bogus claim came as police investigated a number of other reported rapes in her local area.

But detectives quickly exposed her lies and found she had sneaked off to meet lover Matthew Richards - just a short walk from her marital home.

Police then uncovered a series of texts on her phone and Gore admitted she had been cheating on her partner for six years.

Gore admitted perverting the course of justice and was given a suspended prison sentence of eight months, suspended for a year.

Judge Heather Norton told her: 'This wasn’t just a vague allegation. You gave an incredible amount of detail. 'This was all at a time when there was an ongoing investigation into rapes in the Ashford area.'

On letting her walk free from Canterbury Crown Court Judge Norton added: 'This is an extremely exceptional case.  'I do so with some reluctance and it is really by the skin of your teeth.'

Richard Scott, prosecuting, said she left her marital home in Ashford, Kent on the evening of September 24, telling her husband she was visiting a friend called Amanda.

She left the house at 8.15pm and texted her husband saying she had arrived at the property.  But in fact she was in the arms of her lover who the court heard she had had an 'on-off relationship' for more than six years.

Mr Scott said: 'Jessica Gore was lying to her husband at that stage. In fact she had arrived at the home of a Matthew Richards.

'Mr Gore, washed and shaved, put the children to bed and settled down to watch a film. By this time Mrs Gore was having sex with her lover.'

At 10.10pm Gore left her lover and arrived home 10 minutes later in floods of tears claiming she had been raped.  On the advice of police her husband bagged her clothes before detectives arrived to question her.

Mr Scott added: 'She gave the police an allegation of stranger rape after being confronted by a man who she had struck.  'She had then been shoved to the ground and her trousers and underwear were pulled down and she had then been raped.'

But the court heard that her story began unravelling when her friend revealed that she had not been at her house.

Officers then examined Gore’s mobile phone and discovered sexual texts between her and her lover.

Gore told the court she was upset at herself and said 'things had spiralled out of control.'

She also claimed she had gone to her lover’s house 'under threat' as he was going to tell her husband about the affair.

James Ross, defending, said: 'It was Mrs Gore’s belief that, unless she consented to this blackmail to have sex with him on that particular day, he would tell her husband.  'In effect, that her lover would pull the plug on her entire life.'

Mr Ross added that Gore was suffering from mental health issues and blamed problems as a child for her difficulties with men.

After her initial appearance in court she was sent to a hospital to be treated for mental health problems.

Judge Norton said: 'Sadly, in this case, the allegation of rape proved to be untrue but was not admitted until after extensive inquiries had been carried out by detectives, at a time when there was understandable public concern about a number of earlier assaults being carried out in the Ashford area.

'I would echo the comments by Judge Norton that this strikes fear into the hearts of women and undermines actual victims.'



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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