1

Supreme Court rules cities can seize homes
Supremes decide private project trumps rights of property owners

  2

High court's property decision stirs anger
Seen as 'slap in the face' to American homeowners

  3

Property battle heads to states
New efforts to protect private homes, businesses

  4

Developer seeks Souter's property
Looks to build 'Lost Liberty Hotel' at home of Supreme Court justice

 

 

 

1 Posted: June 23, 2005 - 3:07 p.m. Eastern http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=45029

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Supreme Court rules cities can seize homes
Supremes decide private project trumps rights of property owners


Property-rights advocates condemned the Supreme Court's split decision today allowing a local government to seize a home or business against the owner's will for the purpose of private development.

"It's a dark day for American homeowners," said Dana Berliner, senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, which represented a group of Connecticut residents in the case.

"While most constitutional decisions affect a small number of people, this decision undermines the rights of every American, except the most politically connected," Berliner said. "Every home, small business or church would produce more taxes as a shopping center or office building. And according to the court, that's a good enough reason for eminent domain."

The 5-4 ruling went against the owners of homes targeted for destruction to make room for an office complex.

Susette Kelo was among several residents of New London, Conn., who sued the city after officials announced plans to raze their homes for a riverfront hotel, health club and offices.

"I was in this battle to save my home and, in the process, protect the rights of working class homeowners throughout the country," Kelso said. "I am very disappointed that the court sided with powerful government and business interests, but I will continue to fight to save my home and to preserve the Constitution."

The debate centered on the scope of the Fifth Amendment, which allows governments to take private property through eminent domain if the land is for "public use."

Until now, that has been interpreted to mean projects such as roads, schools and urban renewal. But New London officials argued that the private development plans served a public purpose of boosting economic growth, even though the area was not blighted.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, writing in dissent, said cities shouldn't be allowed to uproot a family in order to accommodate wealthy developers.

"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random," O'Connor wrote. "The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."

O'Conner was joined in her opinion by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens said, "The city has carefully formulated an economic development that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including -- but by no means limited to -- new jobs and increased tax revenue."

He was joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

Chip Mellor, president of the Institute for Justice, said both the majority and the dissent recognized that the action in this issue now turns to state supreme courts where the public-use battle will be fought out under state constitutions.

"Today's decision in no way binds those courts," he said.

Mellor said his group will work to ensure the property owners in New London keep their homes.

"This is a terrible precedent that must be overturned by this court, just as bad state supreme court eminent domain decisions in Michigan and Illinois were later overturned by those courts," he said.

Another homeowner in the case, Mike Cristofaro, has owned property New London for more than 30 years.

"I am astonished that the court would permit the government to throw out my family from their home so that private developers can make more money," he said. "Although the court ruled against us, I am very proud of the fight we waged for my family and for the rights of all Americans."

The Institute for Justice says more than 10,000 private properties have been threatened or condemned in recent years.

The neighborhood slated for destruction includes Victorian-era houses and some small businesses that have remained in a family for several generations.

The residents are entitled to "just compensation" for their homes under the Fifth Amendment.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

So Much For Property Rights

Posted by Steve Verdon at 14:58

I don't know if James or somebody else has covered this, but I think it is important enough that if they have it should be covered again. Today was a black day for capitalism and our economy, IMO. Today is the day that the Supreme Court has seriously undermined the institution of property rights in this country.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- -- The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses -- even against their will -- for private economic development.

It was a decision fraught with huge implications for a country with many areas, particularly the rapidly growing urban and suburban areas, facing countervailing pressures of development and property ownership rights.

The 5-4 ruling represented a defeat for some Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas.

I don't think it is going to far to say that property rights is one of the major factors in the economic success of the U.S. The fact that the owner of property has rights to sell it, keep it, etc. makes economic transactions both easier and more certain. Think of it this way, you are thinking of buying a house, but now you have to not only consider things like the quality of house, the neighborhood, the schools, and financing, but whether or not some developer might come along, grease a few palms and get your house for only a fraction of what it is worth so they can build a strip center, a hotel or something else.

Now this certainty has been seriously undermined by the dimwits we have sitting on the Supreme Court. Here is another way of looking at the problem simply from the standpoint of the property owner's welfare,

... the requirement to pay fair market value is a grossly inadequate safeguard on government power for two reasons in Kelo. First, it fails to take into account the subjective valuations placed on the property by people whose families have lived on the land, in at least one case, for a 100 years. In other words, if the Supreme Court rules for the city, the government will be able to seize land at a price considerably below the reservation price of the owners. Second, unlike the prototypical eminent domain case, in which the land is seized to build, say, a school or road, in this case the city is using eminent domain to seize property that will then be turned over to a private developer. If this new development increases the value of the property, all of that value will be captured by the new owner, rather than the forced sellers. As a result, the city will have made itself richer (through higher taxes), and the developer richer, while leaving the forced sellers poorer in both subjective and objective senses.

This is quite right. It is simply another form of rent-seeking. The current owners of the property have something that another entity wants so they use the political process to capture the increased value of the land. Here is a portion of Justice O'Connor's dissent,

"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random," O'Connor wrote. "The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."

O'Connor is basically pointing out the public choice/rent seeking problem inherent in this decision.

Strangely enough Prof. Volokh just doesn't seem to get it in this case. Prof. Volokh seems to think that since the idea of having the government sieze private property and turn it over to a private company to run a store, hotel, etc. is better than having the government run the store, hotel, etc. that this decision is a good thing (note to self: If Prof. Volokh is ever nominated to the Supreme Court do whatever I can to fight his nomination tooth and nail). Prof. Volokh's view that the dissenters in the case actually provide an incentive for cities to take property and start up businesses strikes me as rather...well...stupid. Exactly how many cities have actually done this, and done it successfully?

Will Collier also has a good observation on this,

The localities are still required to pay "a just price" when one of these takings occurs, but the price even a willing seller would be able to get from his property just took a huge hit. All a developer has to do now is make a lowball offer and threaten to involve a bought-and-paid-for politician to take the property away if the owner doesn't acquiesce.

 

more detail and thoughts  --- Thursday, June 23, 2005

Supreme Court Rules Cities May Seize Homes for Private Use

Posted by James Joyner at 14:51

Supreme Court Rules Cities May Seize Homes (WaPo)

The Supreme Court today effectively expanded the right of local governments to seize private property under eminent domain, ruling that people's homes and businesses -- even those not considered blighted -- can be taken against their will for private development if the seizure serves a broadly defined "public use."

In a 5-4 decision, the court upheld the ability of New London, Conn., to seize people's homes to make way for an office, residential and retail complex supporting a new $300 million research facility of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company. The city had argued that the project served a public use within the meaning of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution because it would increase tax revenues, create jobs and improve the local economy. A group of homeowners in New London's Fort Trumbull area had fought the city's attempt to impose eminent domain, arguing that their property could be seized only to serve a clear public use such as building roads or schools or to eliminate blight. The homeowners, some of whom had lived in their house for decades, also argued that the public would benefit from the proposed project only if it turned out to be successful, making the "public use" requirement subject to the eventual performance of the private business venture.

The Fifth Amendment also requires "just compensation" for the owners, but that was not an issue in the case decided today because the homeowners did not want to give up their property at any price.

Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens said the case turned on the question of whether New London's development plan served a "public purpose." He added, "Without exception, our cases have defined that concept broadly, reflecting our longstanding policy of deference to legislative judgments in this field.

[...]

Dissenting were justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, as well as Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. In a strongly worded dissenting opinion, O'Connor wrote that the majority's decision overturns a long-held principle that eminent domain cannot be used simply to transfer property from one private owner to another. "Today the Court abandons this long-held, basic limitation on government power," she wrote. "Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded -- i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public -- in the process."

The effect of the decision, O'Connor said, "is to wash out any distinction between private and public use of property -- and thereby effectively to delete the words "for public use" from the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment."

High court OKs personal property seizures (AP)

The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses -- even against their will -- for private economic development. It was a decision fraught with huge implications for a country with many areas, particularly the rapidly growing urban and suburban areas, facing countervailing pressures of development and property ownership rights.

[...]

"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random," O'Connor wrote. "The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."

O'Connor gets it exactly right. While I would generally prefer blighted property be replaced with shiny new condos and other things productive, that's not a proper role for government, let alone government coercion. If developers want land, they should have to pay for it.

Elsewhere:

Steve Bainbridge: "So much for private property rights. Kennedy and Souter voted with the majority, proving once again just how essential it is that Bush pick somebody reliably - and permanently - conservative when there's an opening."

Glenn Reynolds: "OUR STATIST SUPREME COURT STRIKES AGAIN: They've had quite a run lately."

Michelle Malkin: "YOUR HOME IS NOT YOUR CASTLE."

Ed Morrissey: "This puts the entire notion of property rights into jeopardy. Now cities can literally force people off their land in order to simply increase their tax base, which is all that New London accomplished in this smelly manuever."

Roger Ailes retorts, "Just remember. When you read all the Bushlicking bloggers piss and moan about the New London decision -- They're all frauds."

Why? Because the Texas Rangers benefitted from a public taking of land to build their Arlington stadium in 1990. Presumably, then, Lefties are now in favor of taking property away from poor people in order to give it to billionaire fatcats? I'm confused.

Update: Bryan at AWS has rounded up dozens of blogger reactions.

1. Update II: I’ve moved this post to the top of the page. Please check out the other voices at the bottom of the post.

Update: The opinions are here (h/t SCOTUSblog)

The Supreme Court has ruled that cities can seize homes through eminent domain for lame purposes such as “economic development.”

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that local governments may seize people’s homes and businesses — even against their will — for private economic development.

It was a decision fraught with huge implications for a country with many areas, particularly the rapidly growing urban and suburban areas, facing countervailing pressures of development and property ownership rights.

The 5-4 ruling represented a defeat for some Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas.

For this you can thank proto-fascists John Paul Stevens, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Stephen Breyer and Ruth Ginsburg. They just gave the keys to your home to any developer who can throw enough silly money at local city officials.

The main problem I have with this ruling is that it represents a further encroachment by government on the rights of the individual (never thought you’d hear me saying that, eh?). The same side of the court that is so bent on “a woman’s right to choose” is content to trample on the home ownership rights of citizens in the name of nebulous concepts like “economic development.”

My prediction? Abuse. Abuse. And more Abuse. Can anyone say “new athletic stadiums”? “New Wal-Marts”? “New strip malls”?

Susette Kelo and several other homeowners in a working-class neighborhood in New London, Conn., filed suit after city officials announced plans to raze their homes for a riverfront hotel, health club and offices.

New London officials countered that the private development plans served a public purpose of boosting economic growth that outweighed the homeowners’ property rights, even if the area wasn’t blighted.

Lovely. Unfortunately, words fail me right now, I’m so disgusted.

 

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Eminent Domain Ruling Affects Dallas Cowboys Stadium

Posted by James Joyner at 14:49

Last week's ruling in the Kelo eminent domain case will be affecting Arlington, Texas residents whose houses are in the way of the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium construction.

Stadium Eminent Domain Imminent for Homeowners (DMN)

The Arlington City Council is expected to authorize on Tuesday eminent domain proceedings against as many as 19 properties needed for a new Dallas Cowboys stadium and approve resolutions paving the way for 33 more condemnations in the coming weeks.

Mayor Robert Cluck said the properties are owned by individuals who are either unwilling to sell or are demanding an unreasonable price for their homes or lots. Some have not responded to the city's offers, he said, and a few would not allow city negotiators on their property. "If they can't make reasonable counteroffers," Dr. Cluck said, "we have to use this tool." City officials said they would continue to negotiate with property owners through Tuesday to try to avoid the need for condemnation. However, Dr. Cluck said, some homeowners are unlikely to settle without legal action.

The city's announcement came a day after the U.S. Supreme Court released a decision confirming that cities have wide latitude in condemning property for economic development purposes. That decision, which Dr. Cluck said didn't affect the timing of next week's votes, means that federal appeals of condemnations for the stadium in Arlington are unlikely.

Robert Magnus, whose house is on the condemnation list, said he was unaware of the City Council's vote next week, but he's not surprised. He had hoped that the Supreme Court would help him with its Kelo v. New London case. Mr. Magnus would not say how much the city has offered him for the house he's owned for two years, but he said it wasn't enough to pay off his mortgage. "They are just giving me pennies and telling me to get out," he said.

City officials said they are required to pay fair market value for the properties, and in addition, they are offering incentives ranging from $5,250 for renters to $22,500 for homeowners who agree to accept an offer and move quickly. Also, some moving expenses would be paid by the city.

Glenn Sodd, a Corsicana attorney specializing in eminent domain cases, could not be reached for comment Friday. He has said that he represents the owners of 15 homes and lots and four apartment complexes that are on the stadium site and that he would take the cases to the state Supreme Court if necessary.

Making people give up their homes in order that a football team can play eight home games a year is almost certainly not what the Constitution's Framers had in mind. I've been a Cowboys fan since the mid-1970s and am glad to see them get a new stadium. But, surely, Jerry Jones has enough money to pay off the homeowners.

 

2 Posted: June 24, 2005 - 1:00 a.m. Eastern http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=44958

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High court's property decision stirs anger
Seen as 'slap in the face' to American homeowners

Property-rights advocates condemned the Supreme Court's split decision yesterday allowing a local government to seize a home or business against the owner's will for the purpose of private development.

The 5-4 ruling went against the owners of New London, Conn., homes targeted for destruction to make room for an office complex.

The American Conservative Union, the nation's oldest and largest conservative grass-roots organization, noted many of the affected citizens have deep roots in their community, including a married couple in their 80s who have lived in the same home for more than 50 years.

"It is outrageous to think that the government can take away your home any time it wants to build a shopping mall," said ACU Chairman David Keene. "[The] Supreme Court ruling is a slap in the face to property owners everywhere."

Keene believes "liberal, activist judges will continue to violate the rights of individuals in favor of big government and special interests."

"To help protect property rights, Americans must push for a fair, originalist judge to be appointed to the Supreme Court when the next vacancy arises," he said.

Susette Kelo was among several residents who sued the city after officials announced plans to raze their homes for a riverfront hotel, health club and offices.

"I was in this battle to save my home and, in the process, protect the rights of working class homeowners throughout the country," Kelso said. "I am very disappointed that the court sided with powerful government and business interests, but I will continue to fight to save my home and to preserve the Constitution."

The debate centered on the scope of the Fifth Amendment, which allows governments to take private property through eminent domain if the land is for "public use."

Until now, that has been interpreted to mean projects such as roads, schools and urban renewal. But New London officials argued that the private development plans served a public purpose of boosting economic growth, even though the area was not blighted.

"It's a dark day for American homeowners," said Dana Berliner, senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, which represented the group of Connecticut residents in the case.

"While most constitutional decisions affect a small number of people, this decision undermines the rights of every American, except the most politically connected," Berliner said. "Every home, small business or church would produce more taxes as a shopping center or office building. And according to the court, that's a good enough reason for eminent domain."

California state Sen. Tom McClintock, who ran for governor against Arnold Schwarzenegger, said the Supreme Court "broke the social compact by striking down one of Americans' most fundamental rights."

"Their decision nullifies the Constitution's Public Use Clause and opens an era when the rich and powerful may use government to seize the property of ordinary citizens for private gain," he said. "The responsibility now falls on the various states to reassert and restore the property rights of their citizens."

McClintock announced he plans to introduce an amendment to the California Constitution to restore the original meaning of the property protections in the Bill of Rights.

"This amendment will require that the government must either own the property it seizes through eminent domain or guarantee the public the legal right to use the property," he said. "In addition, it will require that such property must be restored to the original owner or his rightful successor, if the government ceases to use it for the purpose of the eminent domain action."

Writing in dissent of yesterday's decision, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said cities shouldn't be allowed to uproot a family in order to accommodate wealthy developers.

"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random," O'Connor wrote. "The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."

O'Conner was joined in her opinion by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens said, "The city has carefully formulated an economic development that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including -- but by no means limited to -- new jobs and increased tax revenue."

He was joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

The American Family Association noted Justice Clarence Thomas' addition to O'Conner's dissent: "If such 'economic development' takings are for a 'public use,' any taking is, and the Court has erased the Public Use Clause from our Constitution."

Stephen Crampton, chief counsel for the AFA Center for Law & Policy, said America's founders "held that government was instituted to protect property as much as persons, but today's high court no longer respects private property."

"There is a world of difference between taking private property for a legitimate public use, such as the building of a road, and some private developer's get-rich-quick scheme," he said. "In effect, the Supreme Court has written over city hall: 'The government giveth, and the government taketh away.'"

Chip Mellor, president of the Institute for Justice, said both the majority and the dissent recognized that the action in this issue now turns to state supreme courts where the public-use battle will be fought out under state constitutions.

"Today's decision in no way binds those courts," he said.

Mellor said his group will work to ensure the property owners in New London keep their homes.

"This is a terrible precedent that must be overturned by this court, just as bad state supreme court eminent domain decisions in Michigan and Illinois were later overturned by those courts," he said.

Another homeowner in the case, Mike Cristofaro, has owned property New London for more than 30 years.

"I am astonished that the court would permit the government to throw out my family from their home so that private developers can make more money," he said. "Although the court ruled against us, I am very proud of the fight we waged for my family and for the rights of all Americans."

The Institute for Justice says more than 10,000 private properties have been threatened or condemned in recent years.


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3 Posted: June 27, 2005 - 1:00 a.m. Eastern http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=45002

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Property battle heads to states
New efforts to protect private homes, businesses

WASHINGTON – At least 10 states already forbid the use of eminent domain for economic development unless it is to eliminate blight and others, alarmed by the Supreme Court's decision clearing the way for the forcible removal of homeowners and business owners from their property, are considering new property rights protections.

Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell and some legislative leaders are promising to review the laws in the state where the controversy arose.

It is in New London, Conn., where city officials seek to bulldoze homes for a private development project that will bring more tax revenue into the government's coffers.

Last week's 5-4 Supreme Court decision broadened the eminent domain power – granting local governments sweeping powers to seize private property to generate tax revenue. But the court also acknowledged that states can restrict that power.

State House Minority Leader Robert Ward said he plans to resurrect a bill that died last session that would prevent the taking of property in Connecticut for economic development.

Currently, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington already forbid the use of eminent domain for economic development unless it is to eliminate blight. Other states either expressly allow private property to be taken for private economic purposes or have not spoken clearly to the question.

In addition, several other state supreme courts have ruled differently than the U.S. Supreme Court, providing additional safeguards against land grabs by private developers using their influence with city and county officials.

Rell said she asked her staff to contact Ward to talk about introducing legislation in the next legislative session, which opens in February. Rell said she has mixed emotions about the court ruling.

"I can certainly understand the economic development concerns, but I'm certainly also sympathetic with the people," she said. "I think if we can strike a good balance and if there's legislation that would address that, then I'm more than willing to look at it."

Ward's bill, which died during this year's regular legislative session, would allow eminent domain to be used for blight removal, although Ward said he has concerns about how "blight" might be defined.

House Speaker James Amann said also has concerns about the taking of private property and said he is willing to consider legislation next year.

At least one legislator, Republican Sen. Tony Guglielmo, is calling on legislative leaders to act during the current special session, saying the ruling will have a "monumental impact" on homeowners' rights everywhere.

In other states, legislators are taking action. California state Sen. Tom McClintock, who ran for governor against Arnold Schwarzenegger, said the Supreme Court "broke the social compact by striking down one of Americans' most fundamental rights."

McClintock announced he plans to introduce an amendment to the California Constitution to restore the original meaning of the property protections in the Bill of Rights.

"This amendment will require that the government must either own the property it seizes through eminent domain or guarantee the public the legal right to use the property," he said. "In addition, it will require that such property must be restored to the original owner or his rightful successor, if the government ceases to use it for the purpose of the eminent domain action."

 


4 Posted: June 28, 2005 - 1:45 p.m. Eastern  http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=45029

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Developer seeks Souter's property
Looks to build 'Lost Liberty Hotel' at home of Supreme Court justice


A private developer contacted the local government in Supreme Court Justice David Souter's hometown in New Hampshire yesterday asking that the property of the judge – who voted in favor of a controversial decision allowing a city to take residents' homes for private development – be seized to make room for a new hotel.


Justice David Souter

Logan Darrow Clements faxed a request to Chip Meany, the code enforcement officer of the town of Weare, N.H., seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road, the present location of Souter's home.

Wrote Clements: "Although this property is owned by an individual, David H. Souter, a recent Supreme Court decision, Kelo v. City of New London, clears the way for this land to be taken by the government of Weare through eminent domain and given to my LLC for the purposes of building a hotel. The justification for such an eminent domain action is that our hotel will better serve the public interest as it will bring in economic development and higher tax revenue to Weare."

The Kelo v. City of New London decision, handed down Thursday, allows the New London, Conn., government to seize the homes and businesses of residents to facilitate the building of an office complex that would provide economic benefits to the area and more tax revenue to the city. Though the practice of eminent domain is provided for in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, this case is significant because the seizure is for private development and not for "public use," such as a highway or bridge. The decision has been roundly criticized by property-rights activists and limited-government commentators.

According to a statement from Clements, the proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, "featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America." Instead of a Gideon's Bible in each room, guests will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged," the statement said.

Clements says the hotel must be built on this particular piece of land because it is a unique site – "being the home of someone largely responsible for destroying property rights for all Americans."

"This is not a prank" said Clements. "The town of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. 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."

Clements says his plan is to raise investment capital from wealthy pro-liberty investors and draw up architectural plans. These plans would then be used to raise additional capital for the project.

While Clements currently makes a living in marketing and video production, he tells WND he has had involvement in real estate development and is fully committed to the project.

"We will build a hotel there if investors come forward, definitely," he said.

Clements is the CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, which is dedicated to fighting "the most deadly and destructive force on the planet: abusive governments," the website states.

The activist says he is aware of the apparent conflict of someone who is strongly opposed to the Kelo decision using it to purposely oust an American from his property.

"I realize there is a contradiction, but we're only going to use it against people who advocated" the Kelo decision, Clements told WND. "Therefore, it's a case of retaliation, not initiation."

Clements says some people have already offered to put money into the project.


 

Souter plan draws smirks, smiles in Weare
By TODD MORRISON
Union Leader Correspondent

WEARE Even as late as yesterday afternoon, residents here were scratching their heads over the commotion a one-page fax from thousands of miles away had caused Tuesday.

"We're trying to collect taxes, not answering phones," said town clerk Evelyn Connor about what she said was a distraction from today's tax collection deadline. By yesterday afternoon, at least 50 different media outlets had called looking for comment. "We're too busy for this," she said, shaking her head.

The commotion began yesterday when a fax came for Chip Meany, the town's building code enforcement officer.

The letter, sent by Logan Darrow Clements in California, outlined his intention to build a hotel on the residence of Supreme Court Justice David Souter, who lives on the edge of town in a brown, wood-frame farmhouse.

The letter refers to a recent Supreme Court ruling that cleared the way for the city of New London, Conn., to use "eminent domain" to acquire private homes for a private commercial project on the grounds it benefits the community as a whole. Souter voted with the majority of the court in that decision.

In a not-so-subtle written statement, Clements said he sought to claim Souter's land to build "The Lost Liberty Hotel," which would benefit the town through an increase in tax revenues.

Clements is the CEO of Freestar Media LLC, a small television production company dedicated to covering stories of government excess and corruption.

He is also a former California gubernatorial candidate, having run in the October 2003 election that actor Arnold Schwarzenegger won. According to results from the California Secretary of State's office, Clement garnered 274 votes of the more than 8 million votes cast.

Though Clements contends that "this is not a prank," some were not so sure about the written proposal, which included no street address.

Emily Seddon, a 23-year-old clerk at the Country Three Corners convenience store, believed it was a joke, but said it wasn't funny.

"It's a horrible idea," she said. "'That's a very historic part of Weare."

Clements himself did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Though some of the local response to the letter has been muted, Meany and other officials at the town offices said response from other parts of the country has been resoundingly positive, echoing fierce opposition to the court's decision.

Maureen Billodeau, who works in the clerk's office, said some had called looking to make a donation to the project. Others called expressing an interest in working on the actual construction of the hotel which, according to Clements, would include a "Just Desserts Cafe" and a museum.

Former town selectman Brian McDonald laughed in appreciation of the letter, and said "that's what makes this country great."

Chip Meany, the code enforcement officer, said if Clements is serious, the project will entail a lengthy permitting process and would require numerous personal appearances. That's if the town's Board of Selectmen were to even claim the property through eminent domain.

"It's going to take forever," he said of the process, adding that no applications had been filed yet.

Though he said he would treat the application just as seriously as any other permit, Meany marveled at how hard Clements had worked to get media coverage for the story. Calls began almost immediately after the fax arrived, he said.

"He's getting a lot of good press on this," he said.


 

Update: The Lost Liberty Hotel - June 30, 2005

Chip Meany, the code enforcement officer, said if Clements is serious, the project will entail a lengthy permitting process and would require numerous personal appearances. That's if the town's Board of Selectmen were to even claim the property through eminent domain.

"It's going to take forever," he said of the process, adding that no applications had been filed yet.


 

Status of the "Hotel Lost Liberty" project
Freestar Media LLC ^
Posted on 07/02/2005 4:59:20 PM PDT by Man50D
 

Status of the "Hotel Lost Liberty" project This is a real project. To help the potential financial supporters understand where we our in the process a rough outline appears below. This will be revised as needed. Our ability to proceed can be improved with your financial support.

1. Ask the Town of Weare, N.H. what process must be followed to gain approvals to build a hotel.

2. Obtain plot maps and descriptions of the subject property.

3. Establish an escrow account to receive funds to support pre-approval work and funds to support post approval needs (construction and operating capital).

4. Establish a seperate legal entity to carry the project forward and receive the escrow funds.

5. Raise enough financing to support pre-approval work.

6. Create preliminary designs, gather information to support the economic viability of the project and find a company that built several successful hotels to oversee the project.

7. Make a formal presentation of our proposal to the Town of Weare.

8. If property is approved for seizure, and hotel is approved for construction, raise enough funding to build and operate the hotel.

9. Auction off the chance to drive the bulldozer.

10. Build it.

How you can participate (more fun, for real!): 1. Are you a powerful and famous radio talk show host?

The "Room-Fit-For-A-Host Prize" will go to that radio talk show host that causes his or her listeners to pony up the largest sum toward the hotel's construction cost. This will be accomplished by asking each investor which radio talk show host motivated him or her to invest. The honeymoon suite will be named after the winning radio talk show host and that host will be allowed to choose the books and decorations in the room (within our budget). Four runners-up will have regular hotel rooms named after them and also be allowed to choose the books, decorations and furniture in these rooms (within our budget). The radio talk show host that finishes last will have the bathroom adjoining the restaurant named after him or her.

Imagine if your favorite host wins! What decorations might be found in the "Rush Room"? Which books might appear in the "Larry Elder Room"? What creature comforts might be enjoyed in the Bill O'Reilly Room? Do we dare to think what the "Howard Stern Room" might look like? Who will win? How will they decorate? The world awaits with baited breath...and a new reality show is born!

This contest is open to all radio talk show hosts. We will announce which radio talk show hosts step into the ring as it happens...

2. What should we serve in the Just Deserts Cafe* (the hotel restaurant)?

We have received some creative suggestions: Chicken Seizure Salad, Souter Soup, Goose and Gander Sautee. And for dessert Logan's original item...Crow Pie. But we need more to complete our menu. Send your ideas to "menu@freestarmedia.com". Include the name of your menu suggestion in the subject line.

*Name changed to clarify what we are really serving.


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The Constitution of the USA (1787)


In Convention
September 17, 1787
 

Sir,

We have now the honor to submit to the consideration of the United States in Congress assembled, that Constitution which has appeared to us the most advisable.

The friends of our country have long seen and desired, that the power of making war, peace, and treaties, that of levying money and regulating commerce, and the correspondent executive and judicial authorities should be fully and effectually vested in the general government of the Union: But the impropriety of delegating such extensive trust to one body of men is evident -- Hence results the necessity of a different organization.

It is obviously impractical in the federal government of these states, to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all: Individuals entering into society, must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest. The magnitude of the sacrifice must depend as well on situation and circumstances, as on the object to be obtained. It is at all times difficult to draw with precision the line between those rights which must be surrendered, and those which may be reserved; and on the present occasion this difficulty was encreased by a difference among the several states as to their situation, extent, habits, and particular interests.

In all our deliberations on this subject we kept steadily in our view, that which appears to us the greatest interest of every true American, the consolidation of our Union, in which is involved our prosperity, felicity, safety, perhaps our national existence. This important consideration, seriously and deeply impressed on our minds, led each state in the Convention to be less rigid on points of inferior magnitude, than might have been otherwise expected; and thus the Constitution, which we now present, is the result of a spirit of amity, and of that mutual deference and concession which the peculiarity of our political situation rendered indispensable.

That it will meet the full and entire approbation of every state is not perhaps to be expected; but each will doubtless consider that had her interest been alone consulted, the consequences might have been particularly disagreeable or injurious to others; that it is liable to as few exceptions as could reasonably have been expected, we hope and believe; that it may promote the lasting welfare of that country so dear to us all, and secure her freedom and happiness, is our most ardent wish.

With great respect, We have the honor to be, Sir,
 

Your Excellency's
most obedient and humble servants,

George Washington, President
By unanimous Order of the Convention.

 

His Excellency the President of Congress

 

 

THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION


(See Note 1)

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Article. I.

Section 1.

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Section. 2.

Clause 1: The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

Clause 2: No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

Clause 3: Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. (See Note 2) The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

Clause 4: When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

Clause 5: The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Section. 3.

Clause 1: The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, (See Note 3) for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

Clause 2: Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies. (See Note 4)

Clause 3: No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

Clause 4: The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

Clause 5: The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

Clause 6: The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Clause 7: Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Section. 4.

Clause 1: The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

Clause 2: The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, (See Note 5) unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

Section. 5.

Clause 1: Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Clause 2: Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

Clause 3: Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

Clause 4: Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Section. 6.

Clause 1: The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. (See Note 6) They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, beprivileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

Clause 2: No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

Section. 7.

Clause 1: All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Clause 2: Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Clause 3: Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Section. 8.

Clause 1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Clause 2: To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

Clause 3: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

Clause 4: To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

Clause 5: To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

Clause 6: To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

Clause 7: To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

Clause 8: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

Clause 9: To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

Clause 10: To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

Clause 11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

Clause 12: To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

Clause 13: To provide and maintain a Navy;

Clause 14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

Clause 15: To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

Clause 16: To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

Clause 17: To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, byCession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And

Clause 18: To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Section. 9.

Clause 1: The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

Clause 2: The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

Clause 3: No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

Clause 4: No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken. (See Note 7)

Clause 5: No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

Clause 6: No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

Clause 7: No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

Clause 8: No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

Section. 10.

Clause 1: No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

Clause 2: No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.

Clause 3: No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

Article. II.

Section. 1.

Clause 1: The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows

Clause 2: Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

Clause 3: The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President. (See Note 8)

Clause 4: The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

Clause 5: No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Clause 6: In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, (See Note 9) the Same shall devolve on the VicePresident, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

Clause 7: The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

Clause 8: Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Section. 2.

Clause 1: The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

Clause 2: He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

Clause 3: The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

Section. 3.

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Section. 4.

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Article. III.

Section. 1.

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Section. 2.

Clause 1: The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;--between a State and Citizens of another State; (See Note 10)--between Citizens of different States, --between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

Clause 2: In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

Clause 3: The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

Section. 3.

Clause 1: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

Clause 2: The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Article. IV.

Section. 1.

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

Section. 2.

Clause 1: The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

Clause 2: A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

Clause 3: No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due. (See Note 11)

Section. 3.

Clause 1: New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

Clause 2: The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

Section. 4.

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

Article. V.

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Article. VI.

Clause 1: All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

Clause 2: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Clause 3: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Article. VII.

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.

done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,

GO WASHINGTON--Presidt. and deputy from Virginia

[Signed also by the deputies of twelve States.]

Delaware

Geo: Read
Gunning Bedford jun
John Dickinson
Richard Bassett
Jaco: Broom
 

Maryland

James MCHenry
Dan of ST ThoS. Jenifer
DanL Carroll.
 

Virginia

John Blair--
James Madison Jr.
 

North Carolina

WM Blount
RichD. Dobbs Spaight.
Hu Williamson
 

South Carolina

J. Rutledge
Charles 1ACotesworth Pinckney
Charles Pinckney
Pierce Butler.
 

Georgia

William Few
Abr Baldwin
 

New Hampshire

John Langdon
Nicholas Gilman
 

Massachusetts

Nathaniel Gorham
Rufus King
 

Connecticut
WM. SamL. Johnson
Roger Sherman
 

New York

Alexander Hamilton

New Jersey

Wil: Livingston
David Brearley.
WM. Paterson.
Jona: Dayton
 

Pennsylvania

B Franklin
Thomas Mifflin
RobT Morris
Geo. Clymer
ThoS. FitzSimons
Jared Ingersoll
James Wilson.
Gouv Morris
 

Attest William Jackson Secretary

 

NOTES

 

Note 1: This text of the Constitution follows the engrossed copy signed by Gen. Washington and the deputies from 12 States. The small superior figures preceding the paragraphs designate Clauses, and were not in the original and have no reference to footnotes.

The Constitution was adopted by a convention of the States on September 17, 1787, and was subsequently ratified by the several States, on the following dates: Delaware, December 7, 1787; Pennsylvania, December 12, 1787; New Jersey, December 18, 1787; Georgia, January 2, 1788; Connecticut, January 9, 1788; Massachusetts, February 6, 1788; Maryland, April 28, 1788; South Carolina, May 23, 1788; New Hampshire, June 21, 1788.

Ratification was completed on June 21, 1788.

The Constitution was subsequently ratified by Virginia, June 25, 1788; New York, July 26, 1788; North Carolina, November 21, 1789; Rhode Island, May 29, 1790; and Vermont, January 10, 1791.

In May 1785, a committee of Congress made a report recommending an alteration in the Articles of Confederation, but no action was taken on it, and it was left to the State Legislatures to proceed in the matter. In January 1786, the Legislature of Virginia passed a resolution providing for the appointment of five commissioners, who, or any three of them, should meet such commissioners as might be appointed in the other States of the Union, at a time and place to be agreed upon, to take into consideration the trade of the United States; to consider how far a uniform system in their commercial regulations may be necessary to their common interest and their permanent harmony; and to report to the several States such an act, relative to this great object, as, when ratified by them, will enable the United States in Congress effectually to provide for the same. The Virginia commissioners, after some correspondence, fixed the first Monday in September as the time, and the city of Annapolis as the place for the meeting, but only four other States were represented, viz: Delaware, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania; the commissioners appointed by Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Rhode Island failed to attend. Under the circumstances of so partial a representation, the commissioners present agreed upon a report, (drawn by Mr. Hamilton, of New York,) expressing their unanimous conviction that it might essentially tend to advance the interests of the Union if the States by which they were respectively delegated would concur, and use their endeavors to procure the concurrence of the other States, in the appointment of commissioners to meet at Philadelphia on the Second Monday of May following, to take into consideration the situation of the United States; to devise such further provisions as should appear to them necessary to render the Constitution of the Federal Government adequate to the exigencies of the Union; and to report such an act for that purpose to the United States in Congress assembled as, when agreed to by them and afterwards confirmed by the Legislatures of every State, would effectually provide for the same.

Congress, on the 21st of February, 1787, adopted a resolution in favor of a convention, and the Legislatures of those States which had not already done so (with the exception of Rhode Island) promptly appointed delegates. On the 25th of May, seven States having convened, George Washington, of Virginia, was unanimously elected President, and the consideration of the proposed constitution was commenced. On the 17th of September, 1787, the Constitution as engrossed and agreed upon was signed by all the members present, except Mr. Gerry of Massachusetts, and Messrs. Mason and Randolph, of Virginia. The president of the convention transmitted it to Congress, with a resolution stating how the proposed Federal Government should be put in operation, and an explanatory letter. Congress, on the 28th of September, 1787, directed the Constitution so framed, with the resolutions and letter concerning the same, to "be transmitted to the several Legislatures in order to be submitted to a convention of delegates chosen in each State by the people thereof, in conformity to the resolves of the convention."

On the 4th of March, 1789, the day which had been fixed for commencing the operations of Government under the new Constitution, it had been ratified by the conventions chosen in each State to consider it, as follows: Delaware, December 7, 1787; Pennsylvania, December 12, 1787; New Jersey, December 18, 1787; Georgia, January 2, 1788; Connecticut, January 9, 1788; Massachusetts, February 6, 1788; Maryland, April 28, 1788; South Carolina, May 23, 1788; New Hampshire, June 21, 1788; Virginia, June 25, 1788; and New York, July 26, 1788.

The President informed Congress, on the 28th of January, 1790, that North Carolina had ratified the Constitution November 21, 1789; and he informed Congress on the 1st of June, 1790, that Rhode Island had ratified the Constitution May 29, 1790. Vermont, in convention, ratified the Constitution January 10, 1791, and was, by an act of Congress approved February 18, 1791, "received and admitted into this Union as a new and entire member of the United States."

Note 2: The part of this Clause relating to the mode of apportionment of representatives among the several States has been affected by Section 2 of amendment XIV, and as to taxes on incomes without apportionment by amendment XVI.

Note 3: This Clause has been affected by Clause 1 of amendment XVII.

Note 4: This Clause has been affected by Clause 2 of amendment XVIII.

Note 5: This Clause has been affected by amendment XX.

Note 6: This Clause has been affected by amendment XXVII.

Note 7: This Clause has been affected by amendment XVI.

Note 8: This Clause has been superseded by amendment XII.

Note 9: This Clause has been affected by amendment XXV.

Note 10: This Clause has been affected by amendment XI.

Note 11: This Clause has been affected by amendment XIII.

Note 12: The first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States (and two others, one of which failed of ratification and the other which later became the 27th amendment) were proposed to the legislatures of the several States by the First Congress on September 25, 1789. The first ten amendments were ratified by the following States, and the notifications of ratification by the Governors thereof were successively communicated by the President to Congress: New Jersey, November 20, 1789; Maryland, December 19, 1789; North Carolina, December 22, 1789; South Carolina, January 19, 1790; New Hampshire, January 25, 1790; Delaware, January 28, 1790; New York, February 24, 1790; Pennsylvania, March 10, 1790; Rhode Island, June 7, 1790; Vermont, November 3, 1791; and Virginia, December 15, 1791.

Ratification was completed on December 15, 1791.

The amendments were subsequently ratified by the legislatures of Massachusetts, March 2, 1939; Georgia, March 18, 1939; and Connecticut, April 19, 1939.

Note 13: Only the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th articles of amendment had numbers assigned to them at the time of ratification.

Note 14: This sentence has been superseded by section 3 of amendment XX.

Note 15: See amendment XIX and section 1 of amendment XXVI.

Note 16: Repealed by section 1 of amendment XXI.

 


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