November 11, 2011

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens talks about his "most unpopular opinion" — Kelo v. New London.

The WSJ reports:
"I had people at a bridge game stop me and ask, 'How could you have written that opinion? We thought you were a good judge, but we learned otherwise,'" [Justice Stevens] said. "But you can't explain the whole law of eminent domain to your bridge opponents."

He particularly criticized the logic of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.... The O'Connor dissent "took the position that public use is required in all cases except cases where they were remedying harm, getting rid of a nuisance or, in the case of the Hawaiians, correcting an injustice," Justice Stevens said in the interview. But in the 1954 case, "the irony of it is that the department store was in perfect condition," he said. "Their distinction was very unpersuasive."

39 comments:

Bob Ellison said...

You little people just wouldn't understand.

Seven Machos said...

Well, if the department store was in good shape, that makes unconstitutional takings constitutional. It is the condition of the department store that it the central fact. Obviously. Just look at that perfume counter!

Worst. Supreme. Court. Justice. Ever.

Revenant said...

Often I get depressed about the state of American politics, but then I remember Stevens isn't on the court anymore and feel a little better.

Hagar said...

Stare decisis is not mandatory when the Court finds that a prior Court was in the wrong.

The Constitution with Amendments stands; Supreme Court decisions, not necessarily.

Bender said...

Yes, the idea that there is actually no private ownership of property -- rather, the government owns everything and merely allows you to hold it, but can arbitrarily take it whenever it wants to -- is something us little folks do not understand.

Thankfully, we have these divine beings like the Lord Stevens to reveal these things to us.

MadisonMan said...

But you can't explain the whole law of eminent domain to your bridge opponents

Do it while they're trying to make a slam. Distract them.

TosaGuy said...

"But you can't explain the whole law of eminent domain to your bridge opponents"

Opponents of bridges usually do understand eminent domain. ;)

Scott M said...

Tosa beat me to it.

Methadras said...

One of the worst SCOTUS decisions ever made. Ever. It literally turned private property ownership or the concept of it on its head.

sorepaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip Ahoy said...

I'm not an expert at this but that doesn't sound ironic.

Seems irony is largely a matter of opinion. I did not know that before a few days ago. I asked the internet about this and the sites I found poll specific incidents for irony to come up with a percentage. Most incidents people consider ironic fail the general consensus. (we could have a poll on this and not agree)

It needs both parties to have unexpected results and it needs to go a step further.

The irony I know of, the O'Henry type of irony, there are two threads that cross and both threads end in unexpected and usually unhappy results.

So to the example, it might be ironic if the public project never materialized from the seized property and instead a gigantic mall of private department stores was built instead and named for the guy who was shafted.

Aaaaand, Justice Paul Stephens loses his property in Washington and in Florida both to eminent domain.

Seven Machos said...

I say that Stevens is the worst justice ever because I have been subjected to a tremendous amount of his writing, typically in dissents and concurrence. I say this without any humor: most of the time Stevens either did not understand or chose not to take seriously the actual issues raised by the litigants and the issues that made the case a Supreme Court case.

Way to go, Northwestern.

Scott M said...

lol, Chip

My eyes glazed over at "not".

paul a'barge said...

you can't explain the whole law of eminent domain to your bridge opponents

No. Although you can try and explain it to your creator when you stand judged at the gates to Paradise, just before your tired, old, elitist, pompous ass is tossed into the Lake of Fire.

You rancid old piece of crap.

Smilin' Jack said...

"But you can't explain the whole law of eminent domain to your bridge opponents."

Of course not. In a democracy like ours, judges make the laws, and mere citizens are expected to obey them, not understand them.

Browndog said...

Weaving through the tangled web-

Constitution? Fuck it-

We have piles and piles of caselaw in which to build a new, living, ever changing, legal standard to live by-

Pastafarian said...

This is one reason why the next presidential election is so critically important.

Ginsburg: 78
Breyer: 73
Scalia: 75
Kennedy: 75

Imagine that Obama wins re-election, and he appoints successors to all 4 of these justices, cementing a 6-3 ultra-leftist majority on the court for decades.

With the Kelo decision, they took all of our homes. Sure, you might still live there, as long as they let you; but they own it.

That's so bad that I'm not sure what the hell they can do next that will top it; but I'm sure they'll come up with something. Maybe they'll decide that the government owns our assholes and we're fair game to be pinned against the wall of a shower and anally raped by mid-level bureaucrats.

Big Mike said...

Bridge opponents 1

Stevens 0

Bender said...

Imagine that Obama wins re-election, and he appoints successors to all 4 of these justices, cementing a 6-3 ultra-leftist majority on the court for decades.
__________________

Imagine that Romney wins the election, and he appoints successors to all 4 of these justices, all of whom are in the cherished squishy tradition of Kennedy, Souter, and O'Connor, cementing a swing block of "who the hell knows which way they'll rule today?" on the court for decades.

Pastafarian said...

That's why I'm on Team Gingrich, Bender.

But I'd take a squish like Kennedy or O'Connor over a hardcore lunatic leftist like Kagan or Sotomayor. So I'll walk through hot coals to vote for Romney over Obama.

Browndog said...

Notice the Supreme Court doesn't really rule on anything, anymore-

They just carve out a slice of a particular case to lend "guidance", hoping like hell it doesn't step on "precedent".

Leaving lawyerly types wondering "what does that mean...as it pertains to X.."

Giddy, that their work is never done, and billable hours just received another Stimulus Package.

Yes, I detest the whole charade.

Seven Machos said...

When did the Supreme Court do things differently?

nevadabob said...

I really hope a truck runs over that fucking asshole and he dies bleeding out on a lonely, dark road.

Skipper said...

It's just too complex for the mortal mind.

Browndog said...

Seven Machos said...

When did the Supreme Court do things differently?


Go on a journey...and discover for yourself-

Much has been written as to when law schools started teaching "precedent" as not just a factor- but as controlling authority

Seven Machos said...

I'm not talking about law schools. I'm talking about the Supreme Court.

Craig said...

"But you can't explain the whole law of eminent domain to your bridge opponents."

No, you can't. Nor, are we particularly interested to hear it. We only know that it's wrong for the government to force us off our property only to give it -- even sell it -- to another citizen. This is where the law appears to have gone wrong to us non-lawyers.

Browndog said...

Seven Machos said...

I'm not talking about law schools. I'm talking about the Supreme Court.


My bad.

I thought law schools trained lawyers, who became judges, who became....oh, nevermind-

Seven Machos said...

Browndog -- Your post was about the Supreme Court. Are you blaming law schools for what you perceive (wrongly) as somehow different kinds of opinions from the Supreme Court?

Carnifex said...

I think every Justice who voted in favor of this abortion should be held to the standards of their convictions, and all their personal property taken by their respective states and redistributed as the stae sees fit.

In other words...fuck 'em, and feed 'em fish heads.

Carnifex said...

As a ps.

It's sad when a 2 year old child has a greater grasp of personal property than supreme court justices. Just try to take a toy off of a toddler-lol

edwardroyce said...

1. Irony doesn't actually have any iron in it. Now that's ironic.

2. Elect me President. I'll take Justice Steven's house using eminent domain.

3. Now that's ironic!

4. Still no iron in it though.

murgatroyd666 said...

So ... would he have taken Plessy v. Ferguson as stare decisis?

What a smug, pompous little turd.

tree hugging sister said...

Scalia's 75?

Gads.

Hagar said...

Stare decisis is important and should not be wantonly ignored, but part og getting appointed to SCOTUS is that you are supposed to be adept at coming up with a "pilpul" to justify distinguishing the present case from the prior one.

Hagar said...

Broadway quality veil dancers get paid more than those you see at county fairs.

For the privileges and remuneration we offer Supreme Court Justices, we have a right to expect them to be pretty good dancers.

Unknown said...

I have a small bucket list going for when I retire. I have added pissing on the graves of all five SC Justices that voted for this abomination. After watching OWS antics, maybe defecating is in order as well.

sorepaw said...
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Hagar said...

The Supreme Court of the United States is a "common law" court.