pageok
pageok
pageok
Is Eminent Domain Turnabout Fair Play?

The Pfizer Corporation played a key role instigating the New London, Connecticut condemnations that led to the Kelo case. Now, some of Pfizer's own property may be on the eminent domain chopping block. The New London Day reports that New York officials may try to condemn a Brooklyn factory owned by Pfizer in order to build "affordable housing" on the site.

The article notes that some New London residents who opposed the Kelo condemnations are happy about Pfizer's predicament. As one of them put it, "Turnabout is fair play."

Her attitude is understandable. But I take a different view. Property rights, like other fundamental rights, must not be limited to those who support them. We don't deny Communists the right of freedom of speech, even though they advocate taking away that very same right from others (and have actually done so whenever they had the chance). Similarly, Pfizer should not be denied the right to property even though they lobbied to take it away from others when it was in the corporation's interest to do so.

It's also worth noting that the proposed Brooklyn condemnation seems extremely dubious. Because the property is currently all owned by one entity, there is no collective action or holdout problem of the sort used to justify the use of eminent domain in other cases. If Pfizer's land really is more valuable to the City as a housing site than in its current use, the government should be able to purchase it through voluntary transactions. The benefits of the new use would be greater than the purchase price. If, on the other hand, city officials believe that buying the land isn't worth the price, that's a sign that society will be better off leaving it to its current use.

GaryW:
If Pfizer's land really is more valuable to the City as a housing site than in its current use, the government should be able to purchase it through voluntary transactions.

Shouldn't a housing developer be the one making that decision and not the local government?
2.8.2008 8:11pm
Public_Defender (mail):
This is similar to when a cop or a prosecutor becomes a criminal defendant. All of a sudden they figure out that the Bill of Rights actually has meaning.
2.8.2008 8:29pm
TruePath (mail) (www):
I dunno I agree with your analysis. Often it is good if the harms of a particular poor policy are spread around, particularly if they are also spread to the constituency that is most likely to benefit from the policy.

I mean I think there is a difference between advocating the use of emminent domain against those who have intellectual disagreements about the legal standards for eminent domain and protection of property and those who use those standards for their own benefit. For instance I thought it was atrocious that some of the Kelo protesters seemed to genuinely want to try and use eminent domain on the house of a supreme court justice to get even. On the other hand if people feel less hesitant to seize your property when you have had other's property seized for your benefit that might make the troublesome cases less likely to occur.

Anyway the problem with this example isn't so much eminent domain as it is the fact that government mandated affordable housing is a stupid idea. For starters the way it is often implemented (quotas that builders have to meet/opposition to non-affordable projects like the one Pfizer likes) makes it more expensive for developers to create more housing in the area.

I mean imagine we decided that people need more affordable clothes so demanded that clothing manufacturers must make some fraction of their clothes affordable. What would likely happen is that the price of new clothing would increase across the board and people would retain old clothing longer and buy less new clothing (further increasing the price). The net effect is that truly affordable clothing (the used clothes people sell/give away) would become more rare. Similarly it is quite likely that by reducing barriers for the construction of expensive housing we would reduce the price for older generations of housing.

Secondly the entire idea that affordable housing is necessary is mostly stupid. There is always affordable housing somewhere it might just be inconveniently located far out of town. Yes, living in certain places is a luxury and if you want to have a shorter commute you could exchange money for this benefit. Of course if housing pressure gets extreme enough that the commute starts becoming unreasonable then people will start moving to other cities or taking jobs out of the city and raises will increase to compensate people for the trouble of working somewhere with high housing prices.

I just don't get it. Why would you think housing of all things needs to be subsidized? Why not cheese or gasoline or clothing? It all works the same way.
2.8.2008 8:59pm
TruePath (mail) (www):
Note housing created for genuinely indigent people as a charity is a different story. However, this is only justified for those people we think can't be trusted to make acceptable choices for themselves if we just gave them cash to help them choose their own places.
2.8.2008 9:00pm
theobromophile (www):
I think the term that Mr. Somin is searching for is schadenfreude. ;) Pfizer got a sweetheart deal, and the law that it made to get that sweetheart deal is now screwing it. IMHO, nothing wrong with this. It is not often that justice works so quickly, so it's nice to see.

We don't deny Communists the right of freedom of speech, even though they advocate taking away that very same right from others.


No, we don't. Nevertheless, if their efforts result in a law that ends up making it difficult for them to engage in the speech they would like, we tend to say, "1. Karma's a (w)itch; and 2. Well, what did you think would happen? You would get to make laws that benefit you and you alone?"

Along those same lines, we argue against hate speech codes by pointing out that their advocates could end up on the wrong side of them one day. There is something useful in pointing out - not reveling in - the uniform applicability of the law.

Truepath,

The problem with "affordable housing" is that the poor get to live in much nicer places than the not-so-poor. Eventually, it benefits you to earn less money, which is utterly perverse.
2.8.2008 10:13pm
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
The article notes that some New London residents who opposed the Kelo condemnations are happy about Pfizer's predicament. As one of them put it, "Turnabout is fair play."

Her attitude is understandable. But I take a different view. Property rights, like other fundamental rights, must not be limited to those who support them. We don't deny Communists the right of freedom of speech, even though they advocate taking away that very same right from others. Similarly, Pfizer should not be denied the right to property even though they lobbied to take it away from others when it was in the corporation's interest to do so.


Um ... before Kelo, there was no legal justification for taking property purely for "public benefit" (as opposed to public use). Now that the Supreme Court has revealed to us what is just and proper under the Constitution, I'm sure these good citizens of New London are merely celebrating the enlightened application of the powers of government. ;-)

It's also worth noting that the proposed Brooklyn condemnation seems extremely dubious. Because the property is currently all owned by one entity, there is no collective action or holdout problem of the sort used to justify the use of eminent domain in other cases. If Pfizer's land really is more valuable to the City as a housing site than in its current use, the government should be able to purchase it through voluntary transactions. The benefits of the new use would be greater than the purchase price. If, on the other hand, city officials believe that buying the land isn't worth the price, that's a sign that society will be better off leaving it to its current use.

I truly don't see this. If this is the only suitable site for the proposed development, Pfizer would have monopoly control over the supply of the resource (the land in question). Wouldn't that make it much more likely that Pfizer would inflate its price beyond what the property would otherwise be worth?
2.8.2008 10:19pm
Darrin Ziliak:
I'm not going to address the right or wrong of the condemnation, though I think the court was incorrect in Kelo
However, I do confess to a bit of schadenfreude over Pfizer's situation in this case.
Others might call it Karma.
2.8.2008 10:19pm
Zyzzogeton:
Does anyone think it wrong to imprison kidnappers?
2.8.2008 10:22pm
Randy R. (mail):
So what's Pfizer going to do? Argue Kelo was wrongly decided, and seek cert?
2.8.2008 10:43pm
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
So what's Pfizer going to do? Argue Kelo was wrongly decided, and seek cert?

More likely Pfizer will lobby the Connecticut legislature to enact a post-Kelo "reform" of the state's eminent domain law, which the legislature apparently hasn't done yet. (The word "reform" is in quotes because any changes won't necessarily be improvements as far as small property owners are concerned.)
2.8.2008 11:12pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
As a firm proponent of ideological estoppel, I firmly disagree with Ilya.
2.8.2008 11:27pm
gasman (mail):

It's also worth noting that the proposed Brooklyn condemnation seems extremely dubious. Because the property is currently all owned by one entity, there is no collective action or holdout problem of the sort used to justify the use of eminent domain in other cases.

So what is the difference between a lone holdout among a few sellouts, and a lone holdout standing along?

The market value is the mutually agreed price by buyer and seller. The lone holdout has merely leveraged their position better than the buyer. Why should they be penalized for an effective business strategy?
2.8.2008 11:45pm
Justin (mail):
before Kelo, there was....

I stopped reading there. Kelo changed nothing.
2.8.2008 11:57pm
Thomass (mail):
gasman (mail):

"So what is the difference between a lone holdout among a few sellouts, and a lone holdout standing along?"

Usually it points to the offer price being reasonable... because it was enough to get a bunch of other people to sell.
2.9.2008 12:06am
Mr. Liberal:
Just how fundamental are property right?

Property rights versus life. Which is more fundamental?

Property rights versus liberty. Which is more fundamental?

Maybe property rights are fundamental. But I would say in that order. Life, liberty, then property. Some fundamental rights are more important than others.
2.9.2008 12:06am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Mr. Liberal-

Just how fundamental are property right?

Property rights versus life. Which is more fundamental?

Property rights versus liberty. Which is more fundamental?

Maybe property rights are fundamental. But I would say in that order. Life, liberty, then property. Some fundamental rights are more important than others.


Property rights are pretty much necessary for life and any kind of meaningful liberty. And since each individual owns their body, it is basically indistinguishable from life. So property rights are nearly indivisibly bound to the others.

There's a reason why most slavery systems did not recognize most or all of the property rights of slaves.
2.9.2008 1:06am
Mr. Liberal:
American Psikhushka,

One can and should distinguish between control over one's body (liberty) and control over purely external objects (property).

I reject your overly broad definition of property. I do not think it is the most useful definition.

But, if you want to retain it, I would simply assert that some sorts of property rights are more fundamental than others. In particular, property in one's own person is more fundamental than property rights in external objects.

Are property rights necessary for life? One could imagine certain situations where this is so. (i.e. someone steals food you have saved up to survive the winter.) But I would typically say this is not the case.

But one can also imagine situations where violating property rights are also necessary for life. (i.e. an individual in the ocean after a shipwreck who refuses to leave a safety raft at the insistence of the owner).

To say that life depends on property in general is obviously too broad. If someone steals your tennis shoes, you will probably survive the ordeal.

Clearly, the proper order of precedence is life, liberty, and then property.
2.9.2008 1:17am
David M. Nieporent (www):
before Kelo, there was....

I stopped reading there. Kelo changed nothing.
Were there economic takings before Kelo? Yes. Does that mean it "changed nothing"? No, absolutely not. That's like saying that Plessy changed nothing, because before Plessy there was legal segregation and after Plessy there was legal segregation.

Kelo, like Plessy, changed the legal landscape by stamping for the first time the Supreme Court's imprimatur on the notion that the controversial doctrine in question was constitutional. There is a big difference between

(a) X is happening and the Supreme Court never said it couldn't happen; and
(b) X is happening and the Supreme Court said it was perfectly okay if it did.
2.9.2008 1:18am
Mr. Liberal:

The problem with "affordable housing" is that the poor get to live in much nicer places than the not-so-poor. Eventually, it benefits you to earn less money, which is utterly perverse.


Talk about class warfare.

Guess what, there is probably a poor person, somewhere in the world, who is happier than you. However perverse you that may be.
2.9.2008 1:23am
Mr. Liberal:

There is a big difference between

(a) X is happening and the Supreme Court never said it couldn't happen; and
(b) X is happening and the Supreme Court said it was perfectly okay if it did.


It depends on how you define "big."

Are people who experienced segregation both before and after Plessy supposed to think of their pre-Plessy selves as being relatively lucky?

Here is a problem with lawyers. They sometimes lose sight of what is important to real people.

The only argument in your favor here is the idea that legal uncertainty would have discouraged some economic takings that would have otherwise have occurred. That may be the case, but I would want some empirical evidence that this effect is greater than whatever effect the manufactured backlash against Kelo has had.

Kelo, by the way, does fully protect property rights. It requires just compensation for these takings.
2.9.2008 1:30am
Scote (mail):

It's also worth noting that the proposed Brooklyn condemnation seems extremely dubious. Because the property is currently all owned by one entity, there is no collective action or holdout problem of the sort used to justify the use of eminent domain in other cases.

Ah, I see. You just need to be rich enough to own enough land that eminent domain shouldn't apply to you.

One advantage of "turnabout" is that it gives corporations an incentive to support fair eminent domain laws, if they known eminent domain can be used against them and not just for them.
2.9.2008 1:41am
Alcyoneus (mail):
<i>Kelo</i> demonstrates that the law is everywhere meaningless because the people who interpret it are f***ing dumb asses. It's notable that they are all lawyers.

What the hell do they teach in law school, lie-cheat-and-steal-ology? How do blithering idiots make it through law school to get on the goddam bench?

Can you tell <i>Kelo</i> pisses me off?
2.9.2008 2:10am
Mr. Liberal:
Alcyoneus, why don't you tell us how you really feel about lawyers and Kelo.
2.9.2008 2:18am
PersonFromPorlock:
The problem with Schadenfreude is that our enjoyment of it rests on the suffering of others. Nothing wrong with that, where the suffering is richly deserved, but you just know that in this case Pfizer would simply argue against its former interests in Kelo and suffer not at all.
2.9.2008 3:31am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Mr. Liberal-

One can and should distinguish between control over one's body (liberty) and control over purely external objects (property).

I reject your overly broad definition of property. I do not think it is the most useful definition.

But, if you want to retain it, I would simply assert that some sorts of property rights are more fundamental than others. In particular, property in one's own person is more fundamental than property rights in external objects.


I know you'd like to, because your beliefs are essentially collectivist*, but any credible belief in fundamental human rights generally starts with the idea that each individual owns their body. Not far beyond that are the person's possessions that allow them to secure survival - like food they've acquired, shelter, etc. Then you have those possessions that allow them to secure their survival in an ongoing manner. So a lot of a person's posessions are intimately tied to their right to life. The example Locke used was land in an agricultural society, where land pretty much equaled life.

*In collectivism it follows that each person's body is owned by the collective, or rather the "elite" planning or political class, since they exercise control which is de facto ownership. Which is yet another strike against collectivism/communism/socialism, since I don't think anyone in their right mind would want to be owned by politicians.

Are property rights necessary for life? One could imagine certain situations where this is so. (i.e. someone steals food you have saved up to survive the winter.) But I would typically say this is not the case.

See above. It varies from person to person, but often much of one's property is tied to one's life and livelihood.

But one can also imagine situations where violating property rights are also necessary for life. (i.e. an individual in the ocean after a shipwreck who refuses to leave a safety raft at the insistence of the owner).

One can imagine them, but they are rare. But this line of reasoning is a favorite emotionally manipulative argument that collectivists like to seize on as supposed justification for violating other people's rights - usually property theft. There is someone somewhere that has it worse than you do, so "we" "need" to take your property. The problem with this is that there is always someone somewhere in a worse situation, therefore there is always and excuse to steal people's property.

When collectivists are allowed to perform this kind of redistribution (theft), this quickly saps the private economy and depletes the capital stock. Then incentives are destroyed, productivity plummets, pricing mechanisms are thrown out of whack, and shortages occur. The result is the poverty, starvation, and stagnation that accompany communist regimes. (Of course the political "elite" do much better, since they generally keep much of what they "manage" for themselves.)

To say that life depends on property in general is obviously too broad. If someone steals your tennis shoes, you will probably survive the ordeal.

True. But see above. The collectivist line starts with superfluous possessions and luxuries, but it never effectively ends until people stop them or there is starvation, and sometimes not even then. (By the time some of the brighter collectivists notice that the wealth producing elements of the economy are being dismantled the capital stock has generally already been depleted.)

Clearly, the proper order of precedence is life, liberty, and then property.

No, the right of "life" includes each person's most valuable possession, their body. And "liberty" requires owning things necessary for your survival. So the right to "property" is an essential element of the other two. Any other scheme would need to disavow the right of self-ownership for some form of slavery or collectivism (which is basically slavery).
2.9.2008 4:40am
American Psikhushka (mail) (www):
Mr. Liberal-

Kelo, by the way, does fully protect property rights. It requires just compensation for these takings.

As judged by others.

Let's just say I'm glad people's bodies are protected by the criminal and civil law, and eminent domain doesn't apply to them.
2.9.2008 4:48am
Federal Dog:
"As a firm proponent of ideological estoppel"

Definitely a cool doctrine. I will keep this in mind for future argument.
2.9.2008 7:32am
GD:
"The problem with "affordable housing" is that the poor get to live in much nicer places than the not-so-poor. Eventually, it benefits you to earn less money, which is utterly perverse."

Welcome to Manhattan!
2.9.2008 8:16am
Gaius Marius:
Turnabout is not fair play.
2.9.2008 9:07am
Craig Oren (mail):
"There is no collective action or holdout problem."

Doesn't this ignore the problem of bilateral monopoly? When you have a resource that I need, and where I am the only possible buyer, then we each have a temptation to demand a very high price.
2.9.2008 9:39am
Crafty Hunter (www):
Justice is always personal. It is indeed fair play for the greedy jerks at Pfizer Corporation to get exactly what they dished out. In fact, I'd like to see their entire assets abruptly confiscated and used to compensate all victims of so-called "eminent domain" who were even remotely affected by the evil Kelo decision.
2.9.2008 9:57am
Barry Dworak (mail):

Talk about class warfare.

Guess what, there is probably a poor person, somewhere in the world, who is happier than you. However perverse you that may be.


I don't think you understand. Perhaps you haven't actually known someone who was trapped in poverty. I have, though she decided to forget about incentives and immediate hardship and pull herself out anyway. Her neighbors, though, were not so stubborn, and many followed immediate incentives — as most of us, of all "classes", tend to do.

When you set things up so that people actually avoid getting raises or promotions, or better jobs, that they could get, so that their income doesn't rise above some threshold that results in their having to pay far higher rent with only incrementally higher income, you can trap them just above misery. This doesn't make people happy or give them opportunities. It keeps them as a permanent underclass.

As a liberal, that really ought to be something that bothers you, not something you celebrate.
2.9.2008 10:06am
markm (mail):
"Anyway the problem with this example isn't so much eminent domain as it is the fact that government mandated affordable housing is a stupid idea."

And so is government-mandated economic development. Such projects are more likely than not to fall far short of the expected results.
2.9.2008 10:21am
TJIT (mail):
This is an impressively Orwellian, and self refuting statement
Kelo, by the way, does fully protect property rights. It requires just compensation for these takings.
2.9.2008 10:25am
David Chesler (mail) (www):
Zyzzogeton: I never gave my children "time outs" because I didn't want them growing up thinking that it was acceptable to force someone to sit quietly and think about what they did.

(BTW, a petard isn't some sort of crane; it's a bomb, in case anyone was thinking of that phrase.)
2.9.2008 10:41am
Javert:

Does anyone think it wrong to imprison kidnappers?

Bad analogy. It implies that it's okay to kidnap kidnappers.
2.9.2008 10:47am
J'hn'1:
It is more of a "the standard that they foisted upon the rest of the country is now being applied to them".

And THAT is where the glee comes from.

Not that a bad standard is applied to the entire country, but that the ones responsible for the contorted reasoning are not the latest victims of the standards that they themselves set for the rest of US.
2.9.2008 12:12pm
Ken Arromdee:

Does anyone think it wrong to imprison kidnappers?


Bad analogy. It implies that it's okay to kidnap kidnappers.

That's what imprisonment is. If you don't go to prison voluntarily, you'll be forced. Just because most people would rather not be forced doesn't mean it isn't kidnapping.
2.9.2008 12:23pm
CEB:
Turnabout is not fair play.

Maybe it's "just semantics," as they say, but it seems to me that the absolute foundation of criminal and civil law is that two wrongs make a right. It's wrong to kill somebody and it's wrong to confine somebody in a concrete room for decades. Put the two together and you have justice.
2.9.2008 12:37pm
A.:
Advocates of affordable housing argue (amongst other things) that there is a public good to having mixed-income neighborhoods, that opponents of affordable housing are either a) free riding, b) bigoted, and thus not worth taking seriously, or c) ignorant of the benefits of mixed-income housing.

Also,

"There is no collective action or holdout problem."

Doesn't this ignore the problem of bilateral monopoly? When you have a resource that I need, and where I am the only possible buyer, then we each have a temptation to demand a very high price.

QFT.
2.9.2008 12:56pm
JMHawkins (mail):
People who support expansive government power such as Eminent Domain do so because they think government will never use its power against them, either because they are naieve waifs who know nothing of the world, or because they are cynical power brokers confident they can maitain control of government.

In either case, finding themselves on the pointed end of government power is a good way to teach them they are wrong.
2.9.2008 1:25pm
John Ryskamp (mail):
I have written Somin on several occasions about his deficient understanding of the Constitution. We know virtually nothing about property, and yet he writes about "property rights." Is he a propagandist or a legal scholar? In any event, he knows virtually nothing about Constitutional law. It shows how decadent this society has become, that it could ever support such a person in an academic position.

For the information of your readers, we are now in the process of moving away from the scrutiny regime, and supplanting it with the maintenance regime. This process is detailed in my book THE EMINENT DOMAIN REVOLT (New York: Algora, 2006).

Go back and try to come to grips with how the Court uses the term maintenance in West Coast Hotel v. Parrish and Berman v. Parker.

After that, go back and read West Virginia v. Barnette, and note the test the Court uses for removing facts from the political system.

With respect to housing, we are fast moving away from Lindsey v. Normet. That is, housing will very soon rise above minimum scrutiny. I am advocating a complete, absolute and permanent ban on housing evictions, and that's finally getting some attention as we move toward the Depression.

See how out of touch Ilya is? He hasn't a clue about what is going on in this country. And neither do you, reader.
2.9.2008 2:35pm
Harvey Mosley (mail):
I agree. It isn't good for anyone to be subjected this kind of taking. But, since all of us that own property could be, it is a good thing that those responsible are subject to such a taking.


See how out of touch Ilya is? He hasn't a clue about what is going on in this country. And neither do you, reader.


Thank you so much for taking the time to enlighten us.
2.9.2008 5:11pm
Public_Defender (mail):

As a firm proponent of ideological estoppel, I firmly disagree with Ilya.

Nicely said. One thing I love doing is taking a legal doctrine that prosecutors have used to screw my clients, and then turn it around to screw the prosecutors. Of course, that's when the courts usually figure out that they've extended that doctrine too far, but it's fun watching the prosecutors squirm.
2.9.2008 5:58pm
Angela S (mail):
Before Kelo there was..........

I stopped reading there...Kelo changed nothing

In 1992, when the new redevelopment law came into affect, our home and property was taken to put in a new spring training stadium for the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers, Florida....a privately owned stadium...for private gain.
One hundred and ten homes were taken for this.

I feel that if one believes it is the right thing to take one's private property for private gain, then I should have been able to take the home of the judge, who took our home through the Order of Taking, because after he put me, my husband and two young children out into the street by court order, we had no home to go to. So, for the best interest of me, my husband and two children we should have been able to take his home.....because my children needed a home. After all...we ARE a part of this so called public...for the "best interest of the public"
2.9.2008 6:24pm
Angela S (mail):
The law of eminent domain really is an unfair law especially when it is used as a tool for private gain. It is an unfair law BECAUSE of its "creation and relationship" to the state.
Also the condemning authority uses an abundance of taxpayers dollars for their defense while the poor homeowner or business owner is caught with his pants down so to speak and have little or no money for their defense and we ALL know that money talks .....and the poor man walks.
2.9.2008 6:33pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
In his book on the Nuer, a tribe of cattle herders in the upper Nile, E. E. Evans-Pritchard spoke of the settling effect of anticipated vengeance.
Goes around, comes around. Works better when it's actual instead of a mantra.
2.9.2008 7:08pm
Randy R. (mail):
It's very satisfying to hear all this, but the depressing thing is that we all know is that in the end, Pfizer will come out well ahead of the game. All they have to do is threaten to leave for another state, and everyone will scream about the jobs lost, property taxes lost, and so on.

Either they will get the Conn. legislature to make 'reforms' to Kelo, or the state will pay them far more than the land is worth to make them happy. in the meantime, the big law firms and the lobbyists will make a fortune. The pols will cave. Anyone wanna bet on it?
2.9.2008 7:40pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
Public_Defender: That's always the reaction of courts, especially the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Anytime a defendant convinces an intermediate CoA to apply or extend a doctrine in the defendant's favor, the TxCCA will grant the state's petition for discretionary review and reverse the intermediate court, saying it was error to rule in the defendant's favor. It's an abuse of discretion, in Texas, to rule on a legal issue in favor of a criminal defendant.

Clearly, ideological estoppel comes up often in criminal cases, particularly with respect to the actions of police officers. And as someone pointed out earlier, when a cop becomes a criminal defendant, suddenly all the rights he has violated, ignored, cursed, and abused over the course of his career in law enforcement matter because they are HIS. I believe, for example, that police officers who have been found to have violated the 4th amendment rights of citizens should be estopped from claiming 4th amendment rights in their own criminal cases. I believe prosecutors, when they are occasionally charged with crimes, should enjoy no constitutional rights, or at least none of the ones that it can be shown they've argued against over the course of their career.

Thus, my notion of ideological estoppel works in two fashions. One, to deny rights to certain individuals based on their past positions. Two, to deny claims to certain individuals based on their past positions. DEA agents who go after doctors for writing legitimate prescriptions for painkillers should not be given painkillers by doctors when they need them, and should not be permitted to bring a med-mal claim against the doctors for denying proper medical care (i.e. prescribing necessary painkillers).

I believe it's worth denying people specific fundamental rights, liberties, and access to courts as a matter of public policy so as to foster negative externalities for hypocrites. It will make people think before they act and think about others, which will make this country a much better place in which to live.

Of course, a factual finding of a past ideological position must be made before ideological estoppel may be employed. I think the finding should have to be made by clear and convincing evidence, because important rights are at stake.
2.9.2008 10:31pm
Eli Rabett (www):
After reading the article (the real one) it seems pretty clear that this is not about seizing the property, but about a legislator encouraging (ok forcing) Pfizer to bring jobs back (they shed 1000) in order to keep their property.
2.10.2008 9:17am
PersonFromPorlock:
John Ryskamp:

It shows how decadent this society has become, that it could ever support [Somin] in an academic position.

Damn straight. NO ONE who doesn't possess Sauron's secret e-mail address should be an academic.
2.10.2008 10:44am
MDJD2B (mail):

It's very satisfying to hear all this, but the depressing thing is that we all know is that in the end, Pfizer will come out well ahead of the game. All they have to do is threaten to leave for another state, and everyone will scream about the jobs lost, property taxes lost, and so on.

Either they will get the Conn. legislature to make 'reforms' to Kelo, or the state will pay them far more than the land is worth to make them happy. in the meantime, the big law firms and the lobbyists will make a fortune. The pols will cave. Anyone wanna bet on it?

Did you notice that the Pfizer property being condemned is in Brooklyn??? If you visit the US from Neptune you'll find out that Brooklyn is in New York, and not in Conecticut.

I regularly drive past that site, which is in the midst of a very poor neighborhood, but not too far from the yuppification of Williamsburgh. I doubt, though (in response to those who talk in this thread about how the poor have it better off than they have it) that many people would happily choose to move into that neighborhood.

This says nothing about the equities ot the law of the condemnation (which might have been OK before Kelo as development of a blighted neighborhood; I don't think Pfizer is using the plant, and the whole neighborhood would benefit from being torn down). But the people who are blathering about this should at least blather about correct facts.
2.10.2008 5:02pm
Randy R. (mail):
Okay, then. So then please substitute the word "Conn." from my post, and replace it with "Brooklyn."

Happy now?
2.11.2008 10:17am
Deoxy (mail):
We don't deny Communists the right of freedom of speech, even though they advocate taking away that very same right from others (and have actually done so whenever they had the chance).

Ah, but what if the Communist succeeded in having free speech revoked, then complained about not having free speech? That is a better analogy here.

As such, I hope they get their stuff taken for some reason that involves them getting $0. They've earned it.
2.11.2008 1:37pm
Gideon Kanner (mail):
Eli Rabett:

In case you don't read the business pages, Pfizer's promising new drug was disapproved by the FDA recently, and Pfizer took a big hit. Last I looked, it was laying off 10,000 employees. Which doesn't augur well for increasing employment at its obsolete plant in Brooklyn. Nor does it look too rosy for New London either. So much for Pfizer and the Fort Trumbull redevelopment project rescuing New London from a fate worse than death -- or something like that. Moral: for all those municipal planning geniuses that Justice Stevens so admired, redevelopment is ultimately private development with the prefix "re" -- it's subject to a risk of failure as are other developments.
2.11.2008 3:24pm
Eli Rabett (www):
Gideon, do you think the guy who introduced the legislation in NY cares?
2.12.2008 9:40pm
Gideon Kanner (mail):
Eli Rabett:

Of course he doesn't care. So what? There ain't no way in God's world that Pfizer can bring back jobs unless there is a major (and totally unlikely) reversal in its business fortunes.
2.13.2008 1:19am