Don Powers is an award-winning presenter on the Constitution who has re-worked his course information for college students into classes on the Constitution for the public. He found that his college students didn’t understand the Constitution before taking his course, and neither do most adults. “We’re losing our freedom,” Powers says, “because too many people can’t see that the Constitution protects our freedom. Unfortunately for America, our elected politicians, un-elected judges, and bureaucrats are moving us back to the rule of man.”
Powers received the George Washington Medal from Freedom’s Foundation at Valley Forge for his class “Understanding the Constitution.” He is the President of the Oklahoma City chapter of the Foundation. Powers most recently taught his class this spring under the umbrella of Oklahoma State University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. During the last 10 years, he has taught the class to approximately 3,000 people from book clubs, veterans groups, churches, and patriotic organizations.
His classes draw from The 5000 Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen which Powers calls one of the best books on the Constitution ever written. Its 28 principles of freedom begin with natural law, the only reliable footing for sound government. The Founders of this nation were familiar with these principles and used them to structure the Constitution. “If you don’t understand where the Founders were coming from, it’s hard to understand the document and how it was written,” Powers says. He also teaches key elements of the Declaration of Independence and seminal historical events from the Revolutionary Era.
“The Constitution is not hard to understand once properly taught,” Powers says. “It was written for the average person living in the colonies at the time. Any reasonably intelligent person today can understand it with a little background.”
Despite its simplicity, “the Constitution is not being used properly today,” he says, “especially not by Congress, which grants too much discretion to the federal agencies and takes too much power away from the states and the people.” This adversely affects the Rule of Law and constitutes a regression to the rule of man, Powers rightly says.
Continuing, Powers says, “When people try to identify anything they can do today, without government involvement, they usually conclude that government touches every conceivable thing they might do. We have allowed the government to escape the bounds of the Constitution.”
“The Constitution means what it says (The Stated Powers, the restrictions on the Government) and it means what it doesn’t say (The Reserve Powers held by States and ‘We the People’),” Powers says. “If the Constitution does not give a power to the federal government, then the federal government is prohibited from exercising that power.”
This last point puts Powers on the side of William Howard Taft against Teddy Roosevelt, who believed that a President can do anything the Constitution doesn’t forbid. Even if unmoored from justice and natural law? The View of the Constitution by our American Founders, President Taft, Powers and other Constitutionalists is the more humane and sustainable vision – limited government, which Powers says is, “the original intent of the Founders from their writings and from analysis and research into the four-corners of the documents that constitute the United States of America’s organic law.”
Powers wrote a pamphlet on how states can take back power from Washington using the Constitution. “The Toolbox of States’ Rights – A Model Plan for States to use in Pushing Back Against Federal Government Over-reach” is available from:
Don M. Powers
c/o Powers At Law, LLC
1420 Bond Street
Edmond, OK 73034
Attorney Powers will help and consult with people interested in teaching Constitution classes in their area. He is currently developing a book on the Constitution from his newspaper columns and his own research conducted into the Founders and America’s organic law.
More patriots like Powers, please!
Federalism – Supreme Court strikes down federal law against sports betting as violation of anti-commandeering rule
Separation of Powers – dismissal of appeal in Obamacare subsidy case leaves intact executive can’t spend money Congress hasn’t appropriated
State constitution figures in state lower court striking down California’s assisted suicide law as outside the scope of a legislative special session
14A Equal Protection: Oklahoma Supreme Court upholds voter ID law; protects election integrity, not an undue burden
1A: court clears release of James O’Keefe video showing teachers union attempting to secure buyout for teacher accused of touching a student; free speech trumps commercial interests at stake
Electoral College: National Popular Vote compact closing in on success with passage in Connecticut legislature; Governor expected to sign
1A: federal appeals court prevents IBEW from requiring photo ID to end union membership and stop dues payments.
1A: famous First Amendment lawyer says Euro-style ‘right to be forgotten laws censor truthful and factual speech
1A: temporary restraining order against supposedly libelous political ad in Arkansas is probably an unconstitutional prior restraint
1A: UMichigan is sued for Orwellian speech code that governs students on and off campus, enforced by ‘secret police’, public shaming, and ‘reeducation camps’
1A: guards told inmate to lie or be confined to his cell; Second Circuit rules refusing to snitch is protected 1A conduct.
1A Free Press: bill in Missouri would counteract Supreme Court ruling, grant free press rights to student journalists
2A: ignore the disarmament whisperers, the deterrent effect of an armed citizenry on a rogue government is real
2A: Gun control advocates can no longer claim tough gun laws have stopped mass shootings in Australia
4A: Supreme Court rules rental car drivers not on the contract are protected against unreasonable search & seizure in opinion that blends property rights and expectation of privacy rationales
4A: Fourth Circuit requires some individualized suspicion for forensic searches of cell phones seized at the border, going forward.
Federalism: pending bills making it a federal crime to assault a police officer seen as contrary to precedent saying federal government does not have a general power to punish violent crime
14A Equal Protection: twisted Texas law directed at polygamists seen as enhancing punishment on all married persons for sexual assault
14A Equal Protection: bail reform movement logic applied in case involving traffic fines imposed regardless of ability to pay
Economic Freedom: Arizona enacts food truck freedom law
Amendments: “Iowa Latest State to Reject Convention of the States”
Amendment proposed to abolish Article 2 Section 1 requirement President must be a natural born citizen; little different than discrimination on race or ethnicity
Ben Franklin’s famous ‘Join or Die’ snake cartoon followed a military loss to the French
Yo, @TheOnlyEdAsner! Saying rich white men can’t write a good Constitution is like saying comedy shows with rich white men can’t be funny.
Separation of Powers: One of the dueling DACA lawsuits is assigned to Judge Hanen, original judge on 2015 DAPA challenge and DACA-skeptic.
Dueling DACA lawsuits may result in issuance of dueling national injunctions by lower courts
2A: students from 300 schools across the country walk out to support the Second Amendment
Federalism: Trump signs executive order to start pulling federal government out of K-12 education, return control to states and localities
Equal Protection: “The Transgender Bathroom Wars Continue in State Court”
1A: Do you want your state appointing fact checkers and disapproving of your online posts? Bill introduced in California
1A Freedom of Religion: which would you rather have – freedom of conscience or beheading for apostasy? Tough choice, huh?
1A Free Press: series winds up with a look at the right of all – not just professionals - to use the printing press
2A: “Trump at NRA Convention: Trusting The People with Guns Is Part of Trusting Them with Freedom”
4A, State Constitution: drug arrests at immigration checkpoint thrown out because use of drug-sniffing dogs showed primary purpose was drug interdiction w/o a warrant, not immigration enforcement
11A: Views clash on rationales for state sovereign immunity
14A Equal Protection: Colorado Republicans winning reforms to secretive civil rights commission that ensnared Masterpiece cake baker
Administrative Procedure Act does not authorize national injunctions, as some believe
Religious freedom facing cultural headwinds – fewer church-goers, more identity politics and anti-religious animus
Prof. Randy Barnett’s book recommendations from the Founding Period to today, with a stop-over in Progressive eugenics theory
Hagiographic documentary of Ruth Bader Ginsburg extols her love of the U.S. Constitution over the South African constitution. Then I put my hearing aids in.
Don’t forget to laugh: “Korean war must continue: Hawaiian federal judge declares Trump's peace effort unconstitutional” (satire)
There were questions all week about the constitutionality of the Mueller investigation. Tonight, I take up one of those questions: can a sitting President be indicted while in office?
The short answer is ‘no’, according to the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel which has looked into the matter twice, once during the Nixon crisis and again during Bill Clinton’s presidency.
Here’s their bottom line from the year 2000:
Remember, though, that this is just an opinion and a court could decide differently. Remember, also, that the appropriate remedy for a President-gone-bad is impeachment, not criminal prosecution while in office. Prosecution AFTER the President leaves office is another matter entirely. The interference rationale would no longer apply, and the plain language of the Constitution permits prosecution afterward. The Impeachment Clauses [Article 1, Section 3, Clauses 6 and 7] expressly state that a President is subject to indictment, trial, and punishment after an impeachment conviction in the Senate sets up removal from office.
You won’t find a ‘separation of powers’ clause in the Constitution, but the entire structure of the Constitution embodies the concept. The legislative, executive, and judicial branches and powers are set forth separately in the first three Articles of the Constitution. The Framers were influenced by the ideas of Montesquieu who warned that the failure to separate governmental powers would lead to the loss of liberty by virtue of the same government officials enforcing tyrannical laws that they themselves had just enacted. Failure to separate powers could further lead to violence and the “end of every thing,” Montesquieu warned.
The Justice Department’s analysis focused on constitutional duties the President alone is called upon to perform, duties such as being the commander-in-chief, negotiating treaties, and vetoing legislation passed by Congress. [2000 memo at 229,246-247]. The exercise of these duties would be substantially impaired by imprisonment, by the stigma of criminal process hanging over a President’s head, and by the mental strain and other burdens of having to prepare a criminal defense while in office. [2000 memo at 246]. The Justice Department distinguished sitting for a deposition in a civil matter, as happened in the Clinton-era Paula Jones case, from the much higher burdens that criminal process would impose. Moreover, burdening a President with criminal process while in office would destabilize the entire executive branch [2000 memo at 230] and give 12 people on a criminal jury the power to upset an entire national election [2000 memo at 231]. Also, the growth of government over time makes it more important not to interfere, the 2000 memo said several times [e.g., p. 247].
The Justice Department was careful to say that no President is above the law and that all Presidents are ultimately accountable [2000 memo at 236]. It also said it based its opinions, not directly on the text or history of the Constitution, but on more general considerations of constitutional structure – i.e., separation of powers. [id.]
It all adds up to temporary immunity from criminal prosecution for a sitting President while in office - at least as things stand at the moment. Will Robert Mueller and what’s been called ‘his merry band of Democratic donors’ have the chutzpah to try to upset the existing constitutional order and indict the President? We are getting closer to an answer with talk of subpoenas now in the air.
Executive Overreach – 7 states sue to end DACA program, setting up showdown in Supreme Court with existing case filed to continue program
2A: Students in 40 states to Stand for the Second, walk out of class on May 2nd
14A Equal Protection: federal appeals court upholds revised voter ID law in Texas
Patents: Supreme Court rules patent agency can revoke patents; status as Article III court not required – but keep an eye on Gorsuch campaign to rein in power of administrative state.
Copyright: federal appeals court rules monkey lacks standing to sue for selfie copyright infringement
1A: a right to protest anonymously? Courts divided on state anti-mask laws
1A: observers say California bill would impinge on speech rights of authors, speakers, and others holding traditional marriage views
1A: survey shows most Americans oppose hate speech laws, political correctness.
1A: federal judge greenlights lawsuits by conservatives against UC Berkeley for discrimination against Milo, other planned speakers
1A: Tweeting that a disabled HS classmate should kill himself is not protected speech, Minnesota Court of Appeals rules
1A: series on free press continues with focus on the right extending beyond the industry/profession
1A Religion: federal judge finds Falun Gong is a ‘religious institution’ giving it higher protection in lawsuit against anti-cult group’s assaults allegedly sponsored by China
2A: federal appeals court rules medical marijuana cardholders can’t buy guns; drug use associated with irrational and unpredictable behavior
2A: federal district court – “Man with 28-year-old Felony False Statement Conviction Can't Be Denied Second Amendment Rights”
2A: short video explains what an AR-15 is and is not
5A Self-Incrimination: federal judge decides suspect can be compelled to decrypt devices; turning over incriminating evidence is generally not self-incrimination
Due Process under NJ constitution: lifetime sex offender registry requirements cannot be applied to juveniles
Equal Protection: “Judge rules New York City bar can refuse service to Trump supporter wearing MAGA hat”; political beliefs not protected under state and local discrimination laws (can this be correct under public accommodation concepts?)
14A Equal Protection: constitutional basis for denying felons the right to vote is in the plain language of section 2 of 14A
14A Equal Protection: case discusses state officials’ “unfettered discretion” and lack of standards in felon voting rights restoration scheme (discrimination on race alleged)
Amendment: proposed Equal Rights Amendment front and center again, but do women really want to give up preferential treatment (e.g., affirmative action)?
Federalism v. Subsidiarity: states and cities often in tension; what is ‘local control’?
“In 1976, protesters tried to burn an American flag at Dodger Stadium. Outfielder Rick Monday wasn't having any of that.”
New Hampshire street renamed Ratification Way, in honor of state’s signature that made ratification of the U.S. Constitution official.
Constitution education group in Florida sponsors debates, awards scholarships to high schoolers
President Trump’s Law Day proclamation celebrates nation’s heritage of liberty, justice, and equality under the law, and stresses importance of the Rule of Law
An Arizona divorce case involving a gender dysphoric child led to an appellate court ruling invoking the constitutional rights to parent and engage in free speech.
The couple divorced in 2010 with both parents given joint custody of their three children. The father was given final legal decision-making authority over education and medical care for the child in question, who was born male in 2007.
The mother said the boy liked to wear girl’s clothing at home and let him wear a skirt to school. The mother also sent a book to the teacher to read to the class, entitled Princess Boy. The father said he had never noticed any preference for female items in the child’s behavior and engaged a professional counselor for the boy. He asked the court to be made the boy’s primary residential parent and to limit the child’s time with the mother.
After a lot of back and forth, the lower court ordered the mother to remove female-oriented toys from the home and not to dress the boy in female clothing or address him as ‘she’ or ‘her’. The mother was put under a gag order not to discuss gender issues with the boy or provide any of her three children materials about gender preference.
Although the counselor made no diagnosis of gender dysphoria at first, other professionals were brought into the case who did. Meanwhile, the father alleged that the mother routinely violated the court’s orders, something the mother denied. He said, she said.
The lower court ordered both parents not to discuss gender identification issues with the child and to refer all the child’s questions on the subject to the professional counselor. Neither parent was allowed to promote or discourage a particular gender identification for the child.
On appeal, the higher court relied on “the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children” previously found under the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment by the Supreme Court [Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 66 (2000) (plurality opinion)]. The Arizona appellate court held that the lower court erred in going beyond just assigning decision-making authority to one parent. A trial court has no say in what decisions are actually made, generally speaking, and – if it disagrees with the parent’s decisions - all it can do is reallocate the decision-making authority. Therefore, the decision as to which course of therapy to follow belongs to the parent awarded decision-making authority, in this case the father.
The appellate court also vacated the lower court’s order prohibiting both parents from talking about gender identification issues with the child, as a violation of the free speech rights of both parents and also the child. The appellate court said that a state statute permitting courts to restrict what is in essence ‘parenting time’ cannot be interpreted in a way that violates free speech rights. [opinion at p.19].
Long story short, the lower court’s orders violated the parents’ constitutional rights to parent and to engage in free speech. You’ll notice that the appellate court did not come down on one side of the political transgender issue or the other. It stayed away from the ultimate issues involved. Instead, the appellate court left the disposition of these matters to the parents, which is probably a good thing given how many left-wing judges there are.
Let me make a couple of things clear: First, there have always been transgender people and nobody should hate them. However, I strongly object to the government deliberately trying to create more transgender people. In Fairfax County, Virginia near where I live, the public schools teach gender spectrum and gender fluidity, starting in kindergarten. That’s social engineering and it needs to be stopped. It’s just more antics of the political Left to tear down the established order so the Left can take over everything. If they can confuse you about whether you’re a boy or a girl, they can confuse you about anything, including all political questions. Remember, for the Left, the issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.
Articles on transgenderism from the Right commonly observe that gender dysphoric children often grow out of it – it’s just a phase they’re going through – and that to give kids drugs to start them on the road to gender reassignment surgery is nothing short of child abuse. Decisions like those from the Arizona appellate court protect the rights of parents to influence the outcome for their own children. It’s up to parents to use those rights aggressively and to stand up to the insanity that has engulfed our nation that is by design trying to turn little boys into little girls, and vice versa - all for the benefit of the radical Left that wants to fundamentally transform and ultimately enslave us all. Parents, heed the call.
How America Got Its Mojo – our constitutional exceptionalism in a nutshell
5A,14A – federal court strikes Trump’s DACA rescission on procedural (APA) grounds; defers ruling on equal protection and due process claims
Conflict of visions of national injunctions on display in sanctuary cities case – ‘narrow questions of law’ as limiting principle?
Separation of Powers – federal appeals court rules executive cannot condition grants to sanctuary cities on immigration enforcement cooperation
1A Religion: New Jersey school gets sued for Islamic indoctrination in violation of the First Amendment
1A: thuggish tactics of SPLC, CAIR, Antifa, etc. imperil free speech rights of those exposing the truth about Islam – getting events cancelled, social media storms, etc.
1A: Muslim World League demands Europe ban hate speech that is protected under U.S. First Amendment
1A: Trump-appointed judge, in dissent, would have found city campaign finance limit a violation of free speech
1A Freedom of the Press – Series explains how free press understood at the Founding, protects citizen journalists, etc.
2A: Illinois is sued for banning home day-care operators from having guns in their homes
2A: federal judge in Massachusetts upholds state’s AR-15 ban in flawed opinion botching history and precedent
2A: ‘lost’ CDC study shows there are 2.46 million defensive gun uses in the U.S. each year.
14A: Connecticut human rights commission directs employers not to discriminate against job applicants with dishonorable discharges
14A: “ Court Rules Illegal Aliens Can Sue over “Discriminatory Employment Policy” Requiring Green Cards”
14A: Justice Department sides with Asian-Americans applicants in discrimination suit against Harvard
Commerce Clause – can one state impose agricultural regulations on, or send enforcers into, other states?
Deference – statistics show Chevron reduces partisan judicial decision-making, or diminished judicial independence and institutionalized judicial bias, depending on your POV
One Person One Vote –constitutional amendment requiring ‘compact districts’ proposed as solution to gerrymandering
Separation of Powers – end today’s cross-delegation mess by enacting amendment cut from original Bill of Rights that no branch shall exercise powers vested in another branch
Fringe-to-mainstream process of acceptance of new theories shows importance of free speech in science.
Thomas Jefferson Says: Sure, Take Away My Statues (parody with a point)
J. Christian Adams and his Public Interest Legal Foundation have been sued in federal court in connection with their activities to bring the extent of noncitizen voting to light. The League of United Latin American Citizens, better known as LULAC, and four individual plaintiffs filed a complaint earlier this month in federal district court for the Eastern District of Virginia. No answer has been filed yet.
The plaintiffs allege, among other things, that the defendants’ publication of individual names as noncitizens registered to vote amounts to voter intimidation and deters those falsely accused of being noncitizens from actually voting. The plaintiffs further allege that the defendants published still more names after Virginia election officials informed Adams that his methodology was flawed.
The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that the right of citizens to vote shall not be denied by the United States or any state on account of race.
The plaintiffs allege that the defendants violated a post-Civil War era civil rights statute, known as the Ku Klux Klan Act [42 U.S.C. § 1985(3)] directed at preventing anyone from depriving others of their constitutional rights, specifically the right to vote. The other counts in the complaint are based on the Voting Rights Act and defamation. The lawsuit was written up in Mother Jones and Slate.
J. Christian Adams, you may recall, is the Justice Department attorney who quit in protest in 2010 after the Justice Department declined to prosecute the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation in Philadelphia. Adams was a member of President Trump’s ill-fated voter fraud commission. The Left’s narrative on his activities is that they are part of the Right’s effort to suppress the vote, an effort championed by the bigoted Donald Trump.
For his part, J. Christian Adams refers to LULAC as a “George Soros outfit” and maintains all he and his legal foundation did was reprint public records showing that thousands of noncitizens were removed from the voter rolls, including cases where the noncitizens had actually voted. Adams wrote in a mailing available on the web:
Separately this week, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was held in contempt for failing to comply with a court order requiring him to register voters who had not presented proof of citizenship, after the state’s proof-of-citizenship law was blocked by a federal court.
The Kobach contempt citation and the lawsuit against J. Christian Adams are not happy bits of news, but let’s remember what’s at stake here: noncitizen voting dilutes the votes of legitimate U.S. citizens, devalues the worth of American citizenship, and constitutes an assault, not only on our nation, but on the very idea of national sovereignty itself. The alternative – a global free-for-all with open borders, which really means no borders or nations at all – would not be pretty. Noncitizen voting is worth opposing regardless of how many noncitizens register to vote or actually cast ballots, because the issue is a gateway to the diminution of national sovereignty and other mischief the Left is trying to bring about. If the destructive nihilistic Left is FOR noncitizen voting, I’m against it. I’m all for people voting, but only if they meet the qualifications.
San Diego County joins 12 other California jurisdictions in supporting Trump admin lawsuit against ‘sanctuary state’ laws
Reverse Nullification: San Diego County joins 12 other California jurisdictions in supporting Trump admin lawsuit against ‘sanctuary state’ laws.
“Balanced-Budget Constitutional Amendment Proposal Fails in House”
14A: federal judge issues first ruling transgender people entitled to highest protection against discrimination (suspect class / strict scrutiny); ruling comes in military case, likely to be appealed
5A Due Process: Supreme Court strikes federal statute easing deportation of violent criminal aliens as unconstitutionally vague (but what’s vague about a list of specific crimes?)
Supremacy Clause: California plans to block federal government transporting oil & gas through existing pipelines
10A: Did Trump deal with Sen. Gardner pave the way for the elimination of federal pot law enforcement in states that legalized marijuana?
1A: Student journalists sue U of Illinois for getting restraining order prohibiting them from reporting on anti-Trump rally
1A / Parental Rights: Arizona decision rejects court's assignment of treating therapist and gag order that limited parents' discussions with gender dysphoric child.
1A: St. Louis rejects no-speech buffer zone outside abortion clinics: “You can’t pick and choose who can protest. It’s the First Amendment for everyone”
1A Religion: 6th Circuit slams arrogant Labor Department for requiring church restaurant to pay volunteers minimum wage; “The Department should tend to what is Caesar’s, and leave the rest alone.”
1A Religion: Jefferson would not have agreed with ‘separation of church and state’ decisions made in his name
2A: Massachusetts high court - stun guns are “arms” protected under Second Amendment even though didn’t exist when 2A written; may be regulated but not banned
2A: Illinois town’s ‘assault weapons’ ban draws lawsuit, probably unconstitutional
2A: failure of gun control has London mayor pushing for ‘knife control’ (after knife control will come ice pick control, then brick control, then .....)
4A: “Judgeless Administrative Searches Endanger Speech And Other Rights Shielded By The Fourth Amendment”
4A, 5A: police can get warrants to unlock phones (decryption), but cases also raise self-incrimination and Miranda issues.
14A: Obama-era letter guidance on school discipline offends Equal Protection principles which hold that mere disparate impact is not enough; boys punished more often than girls and whites more often than Asians – so what?
14A: American Samoans file suit against being only U.S. territory whose residents are not U.S. citizens
Article V convention would jeopardize Bill of Rights as factions pursue own constitutional agendas
“Podcast: William Howard Taft and the Constitution” (Taft sought to reverse Teddy Roosevelt’s notion that Prez can do anything Constitution doesn’t forbid)
2A puzzle: “A well-educated population, being necessary to the productivity of a free state, the right of the people to read and write, shall not be infringed.” Therefore, you may possess a pen only if you use it to serve the state.
One of the worst Supreme Court decisions ever is now the subject of a major motion picture. Little Pink House opens in theaters around the country on April 20th. It tells the true story of Susette Kelo and her neighbors whose houses were taken by the City of New London, Connecticut for the benefit of a private developer. The redevelopment was supposed to include a research facility for the giant pharmaceutical company Pfizer, but nothing was ever built after the houses were demolished. Today, there’s nothing but weeds where a neighborhood once stood.
The power of eminent domain is contained in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Takings Clause says private property shall not be taken for public use without paying just compensation. This applies to state and local governments through the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment which reads, in part, no person shall be deprived of property without due process of law.
No one denies that the government can take private property for public use, as long as it pays just compensation. The typical example is taking private property to build a road or public library. The 2005 Kelo case, however, expanded on prior Supreme Court precedent that puffed up ‘public use’ so that eminent domain could apply in many more instances. Through judicial alchemy, the words ‘public use’ in the Constitution now read ‘public benefit’. Under the Supreme Court’s loose interpretation of Constitutional language, New London, Connecticut could take an entire neighborhood and give it to a private developer in the hopes that, some day, the property would generate economic development and a bigger tax base. According to the Supreme Court, a public use is no longer required, as long as the public might benefit in some way. The Kelo case was not an isolated incident. Kelo-type reasoning led to more than 10,000 forced transfers of property, or threats of transfer, from one private owner to another private owner in the five-year period from 1998 to 2002.
There was a nationwide backlash against the Kelo decision. More than 40 states enacted some form of protection against the use of eminent domain for private gain. In my own state of Virginia, the state constitution was amended in 2012 to prevent the use of eminent domain for private enterprise, job creation, higher tax revenue, or economic development. That amendment was approved by 75 percent of the voters at the ballot box. When’s the last time you saw 75 percent of the electorate line up behind anything?
Susette Kelo and her neighbors eventually received an apology from the City of New London, but eminent domain abuse continues to this day. A Korean family built a successful dry cleaning business in East Harlem, New York, but the city wants to take it so a private developer can build an entertainment complex.
Property rights are very popular and our side should be using them more often to halt the advance of the political Left. We have fundamental justice on our side and, thankfully, most people – Supreme Court justices notwithstanding - can still see that.