is just superb — and an excellent example of the value added by the Internet. Take several top scholars and legal thinkers on the subject; have them engage each other (and outside opinion) thoughtfully, in detail, and politely, reaching far deeper than the usual sloganeering yet remaining largely acceptable for educated laypeople; present it starting hours after the decision is handed down, for free, to all interested Internet-connected readers — show me a medium that can beat that.

Stephen Brown (mail):
Here, here!
6.26.2005 12:34am
SupremacyClaus (mail):
These lawyer blogs have the validity and the intellectual banality of conversations recorded by the FBI from Tony Soprano's basement.

None addressed the basics, and the devastation that lays ahead, the criminal cult enterprise grab for power, the lawyer welfare job creation, the self-dealt immunities and privileges, the straight out, brazen, daylight, lawyer robbin' and thievin'.

Congress needs to yank the chain of its hyperactive, French obedience school trained poodle. Or, we should fire them at the next election.

Civility in the face of organized crime is collaboration.
6.26.2005 2:19am
John P. (mail):
The reaction above by SupremacyClaus (and other, somewhat more temperate, ones about the blogosphere) makes me wonder whether libertarians (small "l" intentional) have fetishized the home just as modern liberals fetishized the federal government. (This is meant as a serious query, BTW.) It seems to me that, of all the things our government can do to a citizen, forcing someone to sell his house at what should be the market price is on the lighter side of burdensome.
6.26.2005 12:13pm
thedaddy (mail):
I agree with SupremacyClaus

The Law as envisioned by the founders was supposed to be simple and understood easily by all.

Now after 200++ years of lawyering in and out of the legislatures we have impenetrable, convoluteded and contradictory piles of garbage that the "public servants" and academy call LAW.

After reading this and other "lawblogs" it becomes obvious that other than being immeresed in commenting about the technical arcanity of law you(plural) have nothing to credibly contribute on real life.

It is time to come to the realization, after the above mentioned 200++ years of elected officials trying to prove that they have a purpose, by enacting self-serving and pompusly named laws, that it is time to start repealing the idiotic laws passed in previous years. A moritorium on new laws for about 12 years woud do nicely. That works out to 2 Presidents, 2 Senates and 6 Congresses.
By then it would be much clearer which laws worked and which needed to go and the new senate and new congress would have little impediment to acting properly as opposed to self-servingly as most of them would have no personal connection to the previously enacted legislation.

This is what the academy shoud be shouting for -- simplification. But then you guys (and the esteemed officers of the court {lawyers to the rest of us}) would have to invent a new racket for rent seeking.

Just saying is all.
6.26.2005 12:33pm
Jerry (www):
I remember a long time ago reading about some Germanic tribe that, on the ascension of a new "king", the king had to recite all of the laws of the tribe; if it wasn't recited, it wasn't a law.

No idea how true that is, but I enjoyed the thought of it. I don't think we could even do that with some of the single bills we pass today. How long would it take to read out loud some of the longer bills?

I sometimes dream that all laws sunset, and that after the first sunset a supermajority is required to extend it; after all, if the law works, more will support it (this falls apart when I notice that even laws that don't work seem to gain supporters after they become law; and of course we'd probably just end up with huge omnibus bills).

"I think the curse of modern legislation is huge Congressional staffs with word processors. Having some poor schlub write everything out with a quill pen made sure that a 9,000 page Constitution wasn't possible." (Some guy posting as Vincent Fox back in the last century wrote that.)

The thing is, as over the top as SupremacyClaus is, he's right. People can't know what the law is today; they either have to hire someone to vette their every move--and people who can afford this do so--or they have to hope that if and when they break the law or some regulation that interprets the law, they don't get caught or that the punishment isn't too severe.

6.26.2005 2:24pm
SupremacyClaus (mail):
John: The home is a page in the larger portfolio of possessions, being systematically looted by the lawyer. The latter has dealt itself total immunity for its crimes against humanity. These include massive, population scale human experimentations without informed nor any consent, at the Supreme Court. They say, let's have some fun. The public is now used to our dumbass decision of 10 years ago. Let's reverse. We're bored. We went to France, and learned it was wrong. The public enters a nightmare world of irresponsible human experimentation.

The most important possession being stolen with devastating results, and a threat to our survival? Time.

The overwhelming majority of lawsuits are devoid of merit. Juries say so. Lawyers on both sides steal their fees. OK, you got us. However, the biggest losses are unseen: 1) The time the small business owner devotes to the 100's of simultaneous lawsuits, instead of to growing the business and serving the customer, 2) discouraged business start ups that are not worth the risk of a lawsuit, thus are never even started nor seriously contemplated. There is a missing point or two to our economic growth, that is the fault of the criminal cult enterprise, running our branches of government.

Far bigger than torts? Crime. Lower classes have to spend inordinate amounts of energy and time on preventing their crime victimizations. The rent seeking, welfare job creating lawyer, allows a guaranteed (100% foreseeable, like the sunrise in the East) 23 million crimes a year, 5 million being violent. That sucks value right out of derelict neighorhoods, and diverts people away from upgrading themselves and their areas. Those damages dwarf the losses to the lawyer in torts. They also, shift land values away from cities to suburbs, by fear of physical assault in the inner city. That value shifting alone has 13 numbers in it.

When Army Airborne is going to enforce eviction, what home owner will quibble to get fair market price? The latter, because of the intended, more productive use, may be an order of magnitude higher than the market price before the condemnation. What owner ever gets that true value? If it were offered in the first place, who would require public domain action? This is straight land piracy with a 90% discount on real value, and the home owners should be grateful government thugs do not beat them up. Now, the lawyers are going to share these ill gotten profits with their campaign contributors.

Almost all of property law is outrageous, and about lawyer thievin'. Open a Property Hornbook to almost any random page, lawyer thievin' is brazenly displayed, without the slightest apology or blush. Such daylight robbery intellectually justifies public self-help in the retrieval of lawyer converted property, most of all, stolen time.

The lawyer has an affirmative duty as provider of an essential utility product, the law, to not foment a violent revolution, as the dumbasses on the SC did in Dred Scott, perhaps, in Kelo.

If you consider time to be a chattel (owned object), the lawyers of the US owe the class of innocent defendants and crime victims more than the value of all property on earth and in space for their tortious conversion, their land piracy and self-dealt immunities.

Getting back to Tony Soprano. Do you think anyone can talk, or as Prof. Volokh calls it, "persuasive" him out of his power, wealth and lifestyle? That's silly, almost as much as "Please be civil: No profanity, personal attacks, and the like. Civil posts are more persuasive, as well as more pleasant for people to read. Likewise, understatement is generally more effective than overstatement.".

That's right. The lawyer's body must be taken into custody, stress deprogramming must take place, a few summary executions for insurrection against the Constitution are necessary, to help these cult benighted victims understand the problem. Then, a small chance of change arises from this brown field of lawyer criminality. If the FBI wants to use a little profanity with Tony, I have no problem with that. If he comes out a little banged up, from "a fall down the steps" and he talked a little, I really don't see the problem. In his case, there would be no problem seizing that home and reimbursing those trash customers that had to pay double what they should have. Someone needs to explain the difference between Tony's business philosophies, and that of the lawyer. At least, Tony is subject to an enforced Code of Ethics. The lawyer is not. I said "enforced."
6.26.2005 2:27pm
Dan Goodman (mail) (www):
I wonder if there's any discussion of how likely this is to produce the results the city government hopes for?

In Minneapolis, many attempts by the city government (and various agencies) to revitalize one area or another have not worked even as well as Libertarians would be likely to expect.

Those sponsored by neighborhood groups have, I think, done better.
6.26.2005 4:38pm
It's true; the rule of law is a black mark on our society. Get rid of the laws, and everyone's rights and property would be respected, since after all, the only way rights are ever violated or property ever taken is under color of law.

In other news, I think when Prof. Volokh commented recently on the generally pleasant tenor of comments on this blog and the salutary effect of Prof. Kerr's decision to enable them, he definitely, to employ a non-legal term, "jinxed it."
6.26.2005 6:01pm
Gil (mail) (www):
John P,

I worry about making these kinds of judgments about other people's subjective values.

To many people, the home is sacred. It represents years of work and sacrifice and dreams and customization. It's tightly bound up with their sense of identity. Maybe you think forcing them to sell at market prices is on the lighter side of burdensome; but it shouldn't be up to you, or up to their neighbors, or up to a planning board.

Most people don't think market rates are "just compensation" for their homes. If you want to get an estimate for how many people think this is true, just drive around your neighborhood and count the houses that are NOT for sale.

Eminent domain should be severely limited, if not eliminated, and this decision moves us in the wrong direction. Yes, governments can do many other bad things to citizens, but minimizing the taking of property doesn't help to protect against those, it just makes those worse things seem more acceptable.

As a rule, property can be converted from less to more productive uses by voluntary market transactions. If someone stubbornly refuses to sell, well that's just too bad.

I'm sure we could all think of lots of ways that we could further some public purpose through coercing innocent people. But, many of us are happy that such coercion is not the way things are done here, generally.
6.26.2005 7:34pm
SupremacyClaus (mail):
Gil: Correct. The Central Committee's 5 year plan is for the good of all. Forget what the citizen wants to do, if they do not farm the collective farm, they get shot or starved.

I thought this flat earth debate was settled. It's not. This Supreme Court is enforcing Zimbabwean property doctrines. Communism and forced collectivization survive. In the US and in Zimbabwe.

The brilliant government there has proposed a solution to the mass starvation ensuing its collectivization effort, giving land to those favored by the ruling party.

Obesity tourism. The government proposes to invite obese Europeans and Americans. They may till the soil of the seized farms, make more food for the starving masses, and lose weight. What a brilliant idea!

Next, the homes of their political opponents are being bulldozed. In some cases, the little 2 year is still in there, in the middle of the night, crushed by the bulldozers. Here the Kelo doctrine in real action in Zimbabwe.

Nice Kelo doctrine outcome. I demand to know if any of those early dementia dumbasses attended legal seminars in Zimbabwe, last year's vacation break. Prof. Volokh's brilliant pals have yet to spot the origin of Kelo, Zimbabwe.

I hesitate to call Kelo another Dred Scott. The dumbasses still have Monday to outdo themselves.

Then it's off to get their instructions for next year's decisions from their Euro trash mentors and poodle trainers.
I wish the Justices a great summer.
6.26.2005 8:07pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Folks: Please take it easy on the fulmination and the rhetoric. It seems to me that discussions are somewhat more helpful when they're substantive and concrete. Having to use the terms "dementia dumbass," "dumbass," "Euro trash," and "poodle trainer" in three consecutive paragraphs is not the best way to enlighten people. Yes, I realize that there are many much ruder things said on the Internet every second. But I'd rather that comments on this blog were as thoughtful and conducive to rational discussion as possible.

Also, let's take it easy on the hyperbole. I know Communism, and if all the Communists did was occasionally take private homes, then the world would have been a much less bloody place. (Incidentally, homes had been taken throughout the history of the U.S., and takings of private property are squarely authorized by the Constitution; the question is when such private propery can be taken, not whether.)
6.27.2005 2:05am
SupremacyClaus (mail):
If Pres. Mugabe's land repossession is IRAC'ed to the Kelo criteria, would "Zimbabwe on the Potomac" be permissible?
6.27.2005 10:25pm
SupremacyClaus (mail):
Prof. Volokh: Is the cognitive ability of elderly, very ill people, subjected to chemo and/or thyroid problems not relevant to the lawyer, especialy given the bizarre nature of their national law making? Without picking on Rehnquist or O'Connor, it was Breyer and Scalia, searching for common words and for the names of cases they had decided, on national TV. Disconcerting.

If the Justices of the Supreme Court are being trained by foreign jurists in their alien methodologies during summer vacations, is the public not entitled to know that Kelo reflects Euro urban planning doctrine?
6.27.2005 11:31pm