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Kelso Vs. New London

Published in the High Springs Herald in response to an opinion piece written by Mike Hosey.

I read Mike Hosey's article in the July 21 edition of the Herald the other day. After the supreme court upheld New London's right to take land from residents and give it to another private entity, talk radio was all ablaze about the "Liberal Supreme Court" rife with judicial activism. Apparently Hosey shares their tenuous grasp of history.

I wanted to remind Hosey of a few things: The Supreme Court is made up 9 individuals. Of those nine people, all but two are life-long Republicans: Appointed by Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Bush Sr. Of the two Democrats on the Supreme Court Ginsburg is typically considered a moderate and so is Stephen Breyer.

In truth, nationwide, the Republicans have placed more judges in all levels of the federal judiciary. So when I hear a Limbaugh / O'Reilly blowhard scream about activist judges, I recognize the spin and chuckle. They are saying "Maybe if I talk loud enough and label them all liberal, the Democrats will get blamed instead of us."

Anthony Kennedy, labeled a liberal by Hosey, was Ronald Reagan's pick - Kennedy was then Governor Reagan's go to guy for writing Proposition 13, a law permanently limiting the tax and spending powers of the state government. In return for his work on Reagan's behalf, Reagan went to bat for Kennedy, asking Ford to get Kennedy on the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Ford agreed and Kennedy was confirmed in 1975. When Reagan had a chance to put someone on the Supreme Court, Kennedy was his #2 pick - tapped when his first choice, Judge Robert Bork, was too toxic for Congress to touch.

Of course, a lifetime of work as a conservative all went to hell with the application of eminent domain to a private citizen's land for the benefit of another private citizen, right? Well, let's see. What is the legal justification for the ruling? Republican Justice John Paul Stevens says that a strict constitutional interpretation requires that the States and local government be responsible for deciding what constitutes a legal "taking" of a private citizen's land, and the Supreme Court has no place in telling them differently.

States Rights and Local Authority over National Authority? Sounds conservative to me. And it is - the Kelo Vs. New London ruling is a result of conservative view point and a strict interpretation of the constitution's limits of power. In this case, Scalia, Thomas and O'Connor took the liberal position - that the constitution is not the final say, and that you can't look at the law in a vacuum. Hosey himself quotes O'Connor's very liberal comment pointing out that the poor would be adversely effected to the benefit of the rich.

I would recommend Mike Hosey turn off his talk radio and read some Primary Source material - namely, the actual decision by the Supreme Court. For someone who only watches Fox News this will be quite an awakening. An understanding of his party's history wouldn't hurt him any, either. Maybe then he'll know what he is talking about when he writes an article for publication.

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