The first ruling concerns eminent domain. Historically, eminent domain was a legal concept used by government entities to take physical land and property, for a supposedly market based price, and use that land for public good. Examples have usually included taking land to build a new road, a new bridge, flood control, etc. The purpose was to use the land for the general public good through the use of government actions. However, a few years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court broke new ground when they ruled in the Kelo vs. City of New London case that a government entity could invoke eminent domain and take land that would then be developed by private companies, not for a school, a road or a bridge, but for private enterprises. The city of New London wanted to rejuvenate its downtown area but needed to get the existing land owners to move. Thus, the use of eminent domain, an action that was upheld by the Supreme Court.
The seizure was fought by several residents who did not want to give up their homes, for a fair price, and uproot and move their families. One would have thought that in America, property rights, like other rights, would be respected. If the private development interests in New London wanted the residents to move, they should have either upped their offer for the residents' homes or worked around their properties during the redevelopment. However, they came in the side door, using the power of government to force the residents to leave. The words "power of government" and "force" should never be used together since that usually signifies that somebody's rights are going to get trampled.
The Supreme Court argued that by rejuvenating the downtown area, all citizens would benefit, despite the hardship and rights violations of those U.S. citizens who did not want to move. The original plan called for the private developer to build a new hotel, new retail stores, new apartment buildings, and new office towers and accommodate the construction of a new research lab by Pfizer pharmaceuticals. According to a short article by Damon W. Root in the March, 2010 issue of Reason magazine, the plan did not quite work out. According to Mr. Root, the project never got off the ground and Pfizer announced in late 2009 that it was closing down its facility and moving totally out of New London.
Thus, no new hotel, no new retail stores, no new apartment buildings, no new office towers and no downtown rejuvenation. Families displaced for no reason. The only winners were probably the lawyers on both sides who argued the case all the way to the Supreme Court. All because members of the political class saw a cheap way to help out some developers. Scott Bullock, one of the lawyers who represented the property owners is quoted in the article: "This shows the folly of these redevelopment projects that use massive taxpayer subsidies and other forms of corporate welfare and abuse eminent domain." Well said.
This is why Step 19 was included in "Love My Country, Loathe My Government:" Make it illegal for any government entity to condemn your land and/or your homestead for the purpose of turning it over to or selling it to private commercial interests, regardless of the perceived "public good." Freedom should include the right to stay on the property and in the home you own and not be subject to the confiscation of that property by a government entity who wants it for private development.
The second misruling from the Supreme Court was just handed down. It basically said that anyone, any company, any union, any lobbyist, any PAC, and any foreign entity can now contribute to an American political campaign in any way they want. Previously, campaign finance laws allowed only voluntary contributions from company employees and union members to be funneled to campaign election committees (along with individual, private donations) and basically prohibited foreign companies and governments from donating to our election campaigns. With this ruling, it appears all of those restrictions are out the window. According to the Justices, somehow the First Amendment, freedom of speech, applies to any entity, foreign or domestic, not just individuals.
Step 6 in "Love My Country, Loathe My Government" stated: Allow only individual citizens to contribute to political campaigns. This eliminates the contributions of PACs, unions, corporations, and lobbyists. The Bill Of Rights guarantees freedom of speech to individuals, not groups of citizens. This is obviously radically different from what the Supreme Court feels. Not only does Step 6 not want American unions, companies, PACs and lobbyists from contributing, but it assumed we would never allow foreign interests to contribute to domestic political campaigns. How wrong was that assumption in light of this ruling? It is likely that the big money in politics will just get bigger and bigger and the voices of individual Americans, in the electoral campaigns, will slowly get extinguished.
Thus, it appears, from these two rulings, that not only is the American political class out to get our freedoms, but the Supreme Court is out to do the same thing. Seizing property and homes for private investment and watering down individual Americans voices in deciding elections is hardly liberty supporting. However, there are two relatively simple solutions. First, at the state or local level, laws could be passed that would make the seizure of land, through eminent domain, for private investment illegal. The Supreme Court ruling, as I understand, said eminent domain could be used for private development, it did not say you could prohibit it from being used.
There is also a relatively easy solution for the campaign finance ruling but it would take some integrity, backbone, and some marketing savvy to pull it off, three traits that President Obama has not exhibited relative to this case. His public reaction to this ruling has amounted to nothing more than a whiny pout. Sure, he does not agree with the ruling but the ruling has been made. Lashing out at the Justices will serve no purpose. It will not change their opinion and given that they are only human, his public annoyance with their actions could possibly have negative impacts on other issues that he favors before the Court. Whining is not very Presidential, you can disagree with the ruling but get over it. Here's the solution:
- Make a stand for integrity and tell the voting public you and your party will not accept donations from any foreign government, company, or other entity. State strongly that you only want the support and votes of Americans.
- Market your stand vigorously, forcing your opponents to also not take foreign money or look like they are controlled by foreign interests. The Supreme Court ruling did not state you had to accept foreign money, just that you could accept it.
The ruling is done. Much like the President should stop blaming everyone else (e.g. Bush administration) for his administration's failures, he should stop blaming the Supreme Court and move onto doing something constructive. Declining to accept foreign money and forcing the Republicans to do also would be good for America and good for his political future.
Visit our website at www.loathemygovernment.com to order an autographed copy of the book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government -Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom and Destroying The American Political Class" and to sign up for the cause. The book is also available online at Amazon and Barnes And Noble.