Thursday, July 28, 2005

Open Source Amendment Project

The President of the United States.
The Vice President of The United States
The Members of the United States Senate
The Members of the United States House of Representatives
The Members of the United States Supreme Court

In the Declaration of Independence the founders of this great nation wrote, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” They also built into the structure of our government a process by which we the people can seek to change the nature and function of our government without abolishing it and beginning again.

We the undersigned agree with our founders that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed and feel that our government has exceeded the bounds of that consent. We believe that the recent decision of the Supreme Court regarding the exercise of eminent domain was reached with complete disregard for the plain language of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.

We the people therefore ask that the Constitution of the United States be amended to include the following language:

The right to ownership of property being the cornerstone of liberty, no government, or agency thereof, within these United States shall have the authority to take property from any person, corporation, or organization through exercise of eminent domain for other than a public use without just compensation.

Public use shall be understood to be property the government owns or retains the paramount interest in, and the public has a legal right to use. Public use shall be understood to include property the government owns and maintains as a secure facility. Public use shall not be construed to include economic development or increased tax revenue. Public use of such property shall be maintained for a period of not less than 25 years.

Just compensation shall be the higher of twice the average of the price paid for similar property in the preceding six months, or twice the average of the previous 10 recorded similar property transactions. Compensation paid shall be exempt from taxation in any form by any government within these United States.

Respectfully submitted,


Sign the Open Source Amendment Project petition here.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Lots of reasons to be worried about Justice John G. Roberts

Yesterday’s NY Times was practically begging the Senate to vote in favor of the nomination of John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court. The Time’s front page bio was a glowing review of Roberts and his “pragmatic view of the law.” David Brooks, the Times favored “conservative” used the word “love” to describe his feelings for Roberts. The headlining reader-submitted editorials were from democrats praising Roberts as “eminently qualified” and warnings to activist groups to “back off.” Three of the five reader editorials were pro-Roberts. The grey lady knows something about Roberts and she is pushing hard for this man.

Assuming the Times bio is correct in their portrayal of Roberts, principled advocates of individual rights should not look forward to a new hero on the bench. Pragmatism rejects the fundamental principles of ethics in favor of the politics du jour. As such, the plague of pragmatism encourages us to do "whatever is practical," with no mention of the values by which one deems something practical. This implies that Roberts will be a powerful swing vote on many court decisions, many of which will not favor individual rights, however “practical” the decision may be.

It is clear that Justice Roberts is going to sail through the nomination process. It is equally clear that this “pragmatic” man is not going to be another Clarence Thomas. No, more likely he will be our next Justice Souter.

Equally foreboding was a quote from Justice Robert’s mother, Rosemary Roberts stating “We were very concerned about the news (about their son’s nomination and headlines) and everything. We have always been a family that was interested in things other than ourselves.” Great…

Robert Byrd, that cantankerous former KKK member and consistent critic of President Bush was ecstatic over the nomination of Roberts. "I thank President Bush for reaching out to senators on both sides of the aisle as he worked to select a nominee for the court," Mr. Byrd said. "I hope that this bipartisan cooperation will continue as the confirmation process begins."

Update (1:51PM): More worrisome quotes from the usual suspects.

The Washington Post: "In nominating Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court, President Bush picked a man of substance and seriousness."

Los Angeles Times: "He has a sterling record in Washington as a litigator, appearing before the Supreme Court 39 times over more than a decade, and few he has encountered have anything bad to say about him; even legal adversaries such as Walter Dellinger, a Solicitor General in the Clinton Administration, praise him."

Harvard Law Professor and outspoken leftist Laurence Tribe: "I know John Roberts. I think he's brilliant ..."

Former Al Gore and anti-Microsoft Attorney David Boies: "Judge Roberts is a brilliant lawyer, a brilliant judge. He is a very careful judge, a thoughtful judge. I would agree with what the President said earlier. He is a decent man. I think everybody who knows him likes him."

Piggish Senator Charles Schumer: "There's no question that Judge Roberts has outstanding legal credentials and an appropriate legal temperament and demeanor."