I'm taking the next few days off to move so posting will be light to non-existant for the duration.
I will be back ASAP.
Enjoy the rest of your week.


Taking to the streets

New Londoners who's property is up for bids spoke up today:

"Property Rights Activist Take Aim At Officials"

It seems they turned out for a protest in front of a Fort Trumbull developer's home as he hosted a dinner party.

Hopefully, local lawmakers will enact limitations on eminent domain before things get any uglier.


Cyber-looters cometh

Guess who thinks the U.S.'s dominance in the World Wide Web is "unfair?"

The UN's Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG). (see the report here)

Michael Geist, an Internet and e-commerce law researcher at the University of Ottawa, offers a nice summary of WGIG's four proposals, none of which sound good to me.

Fortunately, President Bush and the Internet Corp for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the group that currently oversees the Web's Domain Name System, are taking a strong stance against the looters at WGIG.

For "thinkers" to propose that the U.S.'s MASSIVE investment of capital and research in the World Wide Web does not entitle it the lion's share of its governance is the epitome of the looter's moral code, e.g:
"The need of the weak is an obligation upon the ability of the strong."


The fight begins?

Okay. So far, it doesn't seem like there's been much of a fight over John Roberts' nomination to the Supreme Court. Orin Kerr thinks there won't be one.
Paul Mirengoff at Power Line seems to agree.
However, Ann Coulter doesn't sound too happy.

Guess we'll have to wait and see where this goes.


Bush pulls a fast one

Like he often does, President Bush pulled a fast one on the pundits and is NOW expected to go against all speculation and nominate Judge John G. Roberts of the DC appeals circut to fill Sandra Day O'Connor's shoes on the Supreme Court. (see the Drudge flash here)

From what I hear, he's more conservative than the early favorite Edith Clement (here's the WaPo's comparison of Roberts to J. Michael Luttig, another conservative Supreme Court candidate), but that didn't spark controversy for him when he was confirmed for the appelate court in 2003.

We'll have to see if his luck holds.

By the way, Glenn Reynolds has collected lots of comments over at Instapundit, and Eric Lindholm has some good posts at Viking Pundit.

Corte stands firm

I just read this AP story:

House says no negotiations with Senate on eminent domain bill

AUSTIN (AP) - The fate of a Texas bill limiting when governments can take private property rests with the state Senate. (full story)

The Texas House today voted not to negotiate with the upper chamber on the final details of the measure. The legislation would limit state and local governments from taking private property if the main purpose is for economic development.


The Senate approved the bill first and sent it to the House. Lawmakers there added provisions to the bill and kicked it back to the Senate. Senators agreed to negotiate with the House on the differences, but the House refused today.

Now, the Senate must accept the bill as the House approved it or it won't become law.

Corte reportedly had strong words for the Senate: "The members of the House voted strongly in favor of Texas citizens today by refusing to dismantle real property protections. Despite efforts by big government advocates and special-interest, Representatives decided to stand on the side of Texans and they provided a mechanism for real property security." (press release here)

It seems he feels the same way I do.

Who is Judge Joy?

AP Photo
All the talk's pointing to Edith "Joy" Clement, so here's a fact sheet on her from Fox 11 in Reno.

It's a positive sign that she's a member of the Federalist Society, but I can't find any rulings she has made on personal freedom or private property rights to critique.

Anti-abortionists, though, don't seem to like her:
Edith Clement Pro-Killing, Not Good for Supreme Court
Operation Rescue: "Judge Clement Gravely Concerns Us"

UPDATE: James Copland throws in his two cents at PointofLaw. Very interesting read. BONUS: the article includes a link to the Supreme Court Nomination Blog's rolling list of Clement's interesting opinions.

SCOTUS nominee to be announced

President Bush says he'll announce his nominee to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor tonight at 8 central. I'll comment more later, but I will say I'm looking forward to the reaction.

The frontrunner seems to be Judge Edith Clement of the 5th Circut Appeals Court. (click for a GoogleNews search)

For now, the FoxNews story is here.

UPDATE: Eric Lindholm at VikingPundit has two links and one indicator saying it will be Clement. We'll see...
UPDATE 2: WaPo's take on the announcement AND The Hill's


Texas property rights update

The state House passed a bill that limits the use of eminent domain yesterday. While this is good news, I'm still concerned for the reasons I listed here. But Rep. Beverly Woolley (R-Houston) says the measure is "intended to be a first step in protecting private property rights," so it's nice to know that this isn't the end of limitations on eminent domain.

Other info: the bill would take effect 1 November if signed by Gov. Perry. However, the Senate must now consider the bill. They can pass it as is, or try to hammer out a compromise with the House. I hope they just get it done. Time's running out on the special session.

UPDATE: Texas Insider echos my fears here.
Also, further commentary from TI here.


Rehnquist says he'll stay

19:48 -- This just came over the wires from the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist says he's staying on Supreme Court. "I am not about to announce my retirement," he said in statement obtained by The Associated Press.

In a statement obtained by The Associated Press, Rehnquist says: "I want to put to rest the speculation and unfounded rumors of my imminent retirement."

Rehnquist goes on to say: "I will continue to perform my duties as chief justice as long as my health permits."

Rehnquist released the statement hours after being released from an Arlington, Virginia, hospital after being treated for two days with a fever.

The progress continues

The Texas Senate has gotten on the bandwagon and passed a law that limits the application of eminent domain (read the Houston Chronicle story here.)

My only concern is that the Senate measure is simply a law, while the House measure calls for an amendment to the Texas Constitution. I like the amendment option more because 1) the citizens of Texas must approve the change, and 2) most importantly, voters would have to approve any changes to it.

Like I've said before, I'm glad to see both bodies working to limit local governments' land-grab abilities, but I don't think the Senate bill would afford as much protection as the House's plan.


Good news!

Good news to report from the Texas Legislature today:
From the AP:
"The Texas House today approved a plan that's meant to limit eminent domain."

State or local governments would be barred from seizing private property in Texas mainly for economic development under the proposed state constitutional amendment.

If passed by the Senate, the proposal would go before Texas voters in November.

The US Supreme Court recently ruled that municipalities have broad power to bulldoze homes to make room for malls or other private development to generate tax money.

The US Constitution allows governments to use eminent domain to seize private property without the owner's consent -- for public purposes. The owner must be compensated.

The high court ruled in a case involving New London, Connecticut, which sought to take homes to make way for -- private development.

The Supreme Court also said states could ban the practice.

The House eminent domain legislation is HJR19.

For the whole story, click here.


It's going to get interesting

Ok, so I missed out on all the Rehnquist rumor-slinging, but maybe I can get in on the Stevens rumors a little early.

Apparently, there are tidbits at The Corner on NRO.

After all the guff from liberal groups when O'Connor announced, just imagine the spasm that would follow if Bush had the opportunity to name THREE Supreme Court justices.

Eric Lindholm has comments on that phenomenon and links to this story in the WaPo.

Can't wait for the fireworks...


Gov. Perry pitches in

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has expanded the mandate for the current special session to include private property rights.

"The Supreme Court's ruling would allow government to condemn your family's home, bulldoze it and build a new shopping mall or some other kind of economic development project simply to generate more tax revenue. I stand with an overwhelming majority of lawmakers and citizens who believe that this starts us down a slippery slope that will lead to the erosion of Texans' rights."

I can't help but feel optimistic when so many legislators are pushing for limitations on the use of the Kelo decision. I will -- of course -- hold my enthusiasm for the time when a constitutional amendment actually passes.

But, I remain optimistic. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.


London bombing round-up

Lots has already been said about the bombings, and it's a busy day at work so I'll get to it later. For now, I'll just say today's attack is more proof positive that the War on Terror is not only right, but even more necessary.

For more thoughts check out these sites:

  • Project Nothing! has a huge round-up

  • Viking Pundit has comparisons to the Madrid attacks

  • LGF has commentary

  • Europhobia has minute-by-minute updates of media coverage

  • The Wall Street Journal has a very interesting article about bloggers reporting on the London Blasts in real-time

  • 7.06.2005

    Not without a fight

    Homeowners in Conneticut fight the looters:
    "Fight continues against eminent domain in Fort Trumbull"

    ...As another comrade for freedom falls:
    "Everglades holdout picks up $4 million check"

    Property rights protection moving forward in Texas

    From the AP:

    Texas and local governments couldn't seize private property if the main reason behind it is economic development under legislation a committee approved today.

    The bill and others have been filed in Texas after last month's U-S Supreme Court ruling. That decision said municipalities have broad power to bulldoze homes and put up private development to generate tax revenue.

    Representative Frank Corte of San Antonio says the Supreme Court's ruling set off a firestorm across the country. And many states are considering similar legislation to his.

    After Tuesday's meeting, Texas Municipal League Executive Director Frank Sturzl said he had concerns about Corte's bill. But he noted that very few cities plan on doing anything like the New Haven case that was the basis of the federal decision.

    The House Land and Resource Management Committee approved Corte's proposed constitutional amendment. A Senate committee is scheduled to take up eminent domain bills today.

    The bills are HJR 19, SJR 9, SJR 10, and SB 62. (click the links for full text of each bill)

    Some food for thought

    "There is one safeguard known generally to the wise, which is an advantage and security to all, but especially to democracies as against despots. What is it? Distrust."
    -- Demosthenes(384 B.C.-322 B.C.)

    "In framing a government, which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed, and in the next place, oblige it to control itself."
    -- James Madison(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution, 4th US President
    The Federalist Feb.8, 1788

    "Every reform, however necessary, will by weak minds be carried to an excess, that itself will need reforming."
    -- Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) English poet, critic, philosopher, and a leader of the British Romantic movement


    More comments on Kelo from Cornyn

    (say that five times fast...)

    Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) comments on the eminent domain ruling and his anti-eminent domain bill in today's San Antonio Express-News:

    The editorial "The Supremes stumble with eminent domain" (June 28) raised some issues of mutual concern about the Supreme Court's ruling in Kelo v. City of New London. The erosion of personal property rights in this case is cause for profound concern — and decisive action.

    (click here to read the rest of his letter)

    In 1816 Thomas Jefferson said, "The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen in his person and property and in their management."

    The U.S. Supreme Court, by its 5-4 decision in Kelo, struck a major blow to Jefferson's vision of private property.

    The court held that government may seize the home, small business or other private property of one owner and transfer it to another private owner, simply by concluding that such a transfer would benefit the community through increased economic development.

    Government should not be able to use the power of eminent domain to seize private property for economic development.

    To help protect property owners in Texas and across the nation, I introduced the Protection of Homes, Small Businesses and Private Property Act last week, and already a bipartisan group of senators has joined the effort. The legislation would clarify government's exercise of its power of eminent domain to be limited only for public use. Public use shall not be construed to include economic development. This standard of protection would apply only to (1) all exercises of eminent domain power by the federal government and (2) all exercises of eminent domain power by state and local government through the use of federal funds.

    If the court is unwilling to preserve the bedrock constitutional principle of private property rights, then Congress must ensure that our constitutional liberties are preserved and protected. Our bipartisan legislation is the first step toward this goal.

    Sen. John Cornyn

    A lot of the info in it has been posted on this site before, but it's worth the read.


    Why we celebrate

    July 4, 1776
    "When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

    He has refuted his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

    He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

    He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

    He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

    He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

    He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

    He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

    He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

    He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

    He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

    He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

    He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

    For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

    For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

    For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

    For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

    For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

    For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

    For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

    For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

    For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

    He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

    He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

    He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

    He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

    He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

    In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

    Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

    We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. --And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

    This is the reason we celebrate today. Let us never forget.

    (To read the full text of the Declaration, click here.)


    Happy Independence Day!

    Posting may will be light through the weekend.

    But you have a good one and remember what the 4th is all about... FREEDOM!


    A cool place to be

    Just FYI, we're number 10 on a Yahoo! Search for "john gault". Cool...

    UPDATE: we're now number 8... is that the theme music from The Jeffersons I hear?

    UPDATE 2: Cripes! knocked down to number 9.

    The battle is brewing

    Just hours after Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement (text here, story here) the battle lines are being drawn for the fight over her replacement nominee.

    Bush calls for "a dignified process of confirmation in the United States Senate, characterized by fair treatment, a fair hearing and a fair vote." (text here) We'll see if he gets it.

    Nice roundup of her career at Point of Law.

    Orin Kerr has lots of thoughts here at the Volokh Conspiracy.

    And Eric Lindholm has a nice poem to commemorate "Sandra Dee" at Viking Pundit.