Who Do I See About Investing?. And Reservations?
I heard about this on the radio this morning, a couple of people emailed me, plus a commenter mentioned it, but I think Logan Darrow Clements’ idea of taking Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter’s New Hampshire home through eminent domain in order to build a hotel is outstanding.
However, Randy Barnett doesn’t think the idea is quite as amusing if Clements is serious:
Retaliating against a judge for the good faith exercise of his duty is not only a bad idea, it violates the holding of Kelo itself, for the intent would be to take from A to give to B, in this case to punish A.
What matters intent? How do you prove Clements isn’t just trying to take advantage of an excellent finanical opportunity for both himself and the town of Weare? He states his reasoning plainly:
Clements indicated that the hotel must be built on this particular piece of land because it is a unique site being the home of someone largely responsible for destroying property rights for all Americans.
It’s all about location, location, location! I don’t know about you, but I think any reasonably
decent skillful lawyer could successfully argue that, while the hotel could be built on the property of any of the five justices in the majority in Kelo, selecting Souter’s home isn’t punitive – after all, Souter would receive “just compensation” like any average American in a similar situation. And future “Lost Liberty Hotel” franchises could be opened on the (former) homesites of the other four Justices, plus the homesites of mayors and city-council members who vote in favor of such eminent domain seizures!
Well, maybe “Lost Liberty” convenience stores.
UPDATE, 6/30: Eugene Volokh sees it the same way I do:
Developers’ intentions are often not public-regarding; even if they aren’t political retaliation, they’re often simply private gain, which is perfectly fine. If the developer here persuaded the city that the taking would indeed be economically beneficial (“Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land”), and the city was genuinely motivated by this public benefit, the developer’s motives would, I think, be irrelevant.