Monday, July 04, 2005

Dial Justice from Lost Liberty Hotel

From the editorial page of the Tampa Tribune today, Independence Day, comes this reflection:

The weaknesses of two recent Supreme Court decisions are illustrated by two pranks that, in light of the court rulings, aren't funny at all.

After the court ruled that towns could force anyone to give up property if the town had a better use for it, a plan was announced to make Justice David Souter sell his New Hampshire home to developers who would build the Lost Liberty Hotel on the site.

"The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen," said Los Angeles resident Logan Darrow Clements. "If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter, we can begin our hotel development."

Souter, who voted with the majority in the case, would surely resist, but he could no longer object on constitutional grounds.

In another case, the court tried to explain how displays of the Ten Commandments on public property are sometimes OK and sometimes an illegal promotion of religion. The conservative Family Research Council suggests that the Supreme Court set up a toll-free number to tell callers which displays of the Ten Commandments are constitutional.

The court might want to start thinking about this issue: Can a private hotel built for public use, after a sale forced by elected officials, display the Ten Commandments in the lobby?

Makes ya wonder, doesn't it?