Since Kevin is a land use litigation attorney, I get to hear a lot of crazy stories about insane government regulations on people’s property. Last night he was telling me about this one case his firm has in So. Cal. where a state agency is requiring a landowner, whose backyard faces a canyon, to grow certain types of native weeds in his backyard in order to get a landscaping permit. Isn’t that the most absurd thing you’ve ever heard? When I heard about this, my first reaction was: “Whose property is it anyway?”
Under a communist scheme of government, private citizens aren’t permitted to own property. In modern America, it seems that, more and more, private citizens are permitted to own land “in name only.” Our all-powerful, centralized government is increasingly dictating how exactly Joe Owner can (or cannot) use his land. Are we slipping toward communist concepts of property rights where the government technically owns all the land? It seems, to me, that the lines are getting very blurry.
Or, forget communism. How about socialism?
In the recent Kelo case, the U.S. Supreme Court authorized a city in Connecticut to take real property owned by private individuals and transfer it to other private parties who would make better economic use of the property. As a result of Kelo, cities in the U.S. now have the power to bulldoze blighted residential areas and build hotels and shopping malls that will generate more tax revenue. If that isn’t socialism – redistributing wealth by taking private property from one person and giving it to another – what is?
So, when I learned today that a developer, a Mr. Clements of New Hampshire, has filed an application to condemn Justice Souter’s private property so it can build a hotel on it instead, I was very happy to hear it. I was even more happy when I heard the name of the hotel would be called “The Lost Liberty Hotel.” May Justice Souter experience, to the fullest, the worst nightmares of his own ruling. Or at least be required to ruminate more deeply on what he’s done.
And God bless Mr. Clements for his sense of humor, his gut, and his love for freedom. And God bless America … ‘cuz we desperately need it.