Homeless Justice?

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Homeless Justice?

When I read the first paragraph of this story, it made me happy. But the more I read the more I just shook my head.
An activist angered by a Supreme Court property-rights decision proposed this week that the town of Weare, N.H., give Justice David H. Souter a taste of his own legal medicine.

Souter, who owns a home in the south-central New Hampshire town, voted with the majority last week in the case of Kilo vs. City of New London. The court found that the Connecticut city could use the power of eminent domain to seize private property to make way for an urban redevelopment project that would provide broad economic benefits to the community.
This is awesome. Truly inspired. But then it turns stupid really quickly.
The proposal to seize Souter's modest home, though it may be far-fetched, has gained support from conservatives across the country. It showed up in a letter faxed to a Weare town official Monday.

In the letter, Logan Darrow Clements, a Los Angeles resident who is described on his company's website as chief executive of Freestar Media, proposed building a hotel on Souter's property.

"The justification for such an eminent domain action is that our hotel will better serve the public interest as it will bring in economic development and higher tax revenue to Weare," Clements wrote.

In an interview, Clements said he was inspired to take action by the book "Atlas Shrugged" and by its author, Ayn Rand, an apostle of capitalism and what she called "rational self interest."

A spokeswoman for the Supreme Court, Kathy Arberg, declined to comment Wednesday.

Those familiar with Souter's home site said it was an unlikely spot for a hotel.

Clements said in a press statement that his proposal "is not a prank" and that he planned to raise investment capital from "liberty advocates" around the country to build a "Lost Liberty Hotel," with a dining room called "Just Desserts Cafe."

Each hotel room would offer guests a bedside copy of Rand's "Atlas Shrugged."

The proposal pleased 100 or so conservatives at the regular Wednesday morning strategy meeting hosted in Washington by Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative organization.

"Let's go rock and roll," Norquist said after hearing of Clements' idea.

The plan "highlights just how awful this decision was, and how divorced it was from any sense of justice and rights," Norquist said.
What was that odd sound I just heard? A missed opportunity flying away? I think so.

First, I do give them props for being so clever and quick. If they could have kept the Ayn Rand idiocy and the madhatter-conservatives-only out of this it would have been a great cause that even liberals like myself would have supported. Instead they took a great idea and totally muddied the message, making it far more crackpot than inspired. Too bad.

I really think there is broad, non-partisan opposition to the eminent domain ruling. If they had just kept it pure instead of so personal and partisan, it could have received a lot more attention and support. Now it's destined to be a great punchline on The Daily Show.

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