Sunday, July 03, 2005

As if you needed any more evidence that Democratic leadership is out of touch...

This is a transcript from a June 30 press conference hosted by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Other than the retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor, the Kelo decision is the biggest story of the last two weeks. And even as late as June 30, Pelosi apparently knows almost nothing about the case or what it means:

Q Later this morning, many Members of the House Republican leadership, along with John Cornyn from the Senate, are holding a news conference on eminent domain, the decision of the Supreme Court the other day, and they are going to offer legislation that would restrict it, prohibiting federal funds from being used in such a manner.

Two questions: What was your reaction to the Supreme Court decision on this topic, and what do you think about legislation to, in the minds of opponents at least, remedy or changing it?

Ms. Pelosi. As a Member of Congress, and actually all of us and anyone who holds a public office in our country, we take an oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Very central to that in that Constitution is the separation of powers. I believe that whatever you think about a particular decision of the Supreme Court, and I certainly have been in disagreement with them on many occasions, it is not appropriate for the Congress to say we're going to withhold funds for the Court because we don't like a decision.

Q Not on the Court, withhold funds from the eminent domain purchases that wouldn't involve public use. I apologize if I framed the question poorly. It wouldn't be withholding federal funds from the Court, but withhold Federal funds from eminent domain type purchases that are not just involved in public good.

Ms. Pelosi. Again, without focusing on the actual decision, just to say that when you withhold funds from enforcing a decision of the Supreme Court you are, in fact, nullifying a decision of the Supreme Court. This is in violation of the respect for separation of church -- powers in our Constitution, church and state as well. Sometimes the Republicans have a problem with that as well. But forgive my digression. So the answer to your question is, I would oppose any legislation that says we would withhold funds for the enforcement of any decision of the Supreme Court no matter how opposed I am to that decision. And I'm not saying that I'm opposed to this decision, I'm just saying in general.

Q Could you talk about this decision? What you think of it?

Ms. Pelosi. It is a decision of the Supreme Court. If Congress wants to change it, it will require legislation of a level of a constitutional amendment. So this is almost as if God has spoken. It's an elementary discussion now. They have made the decision.

Q Do you think it is appropriate for municipalities to be able to use eminent domain to take land for economic development?

Ms. Pelosi. The Supreme Court has decided, knowing the particulars of this case, that that was appropriate, and so I would support that.

I really don't know what to say to that. Her ignorance and lackadaisical attitude pretty much speak for themselves. And this woman is the leader of the Democrats in the U.S. House. Tell me--is it really too much to ask that we have at least two parties speaking up on the important issues?

This begs the question: how could the Democrat House leader be ignorant of such an important case? Assuming she's an experienced politician, she could, and would, be ignorant of the case only if she thought the case wasn't that important to the public. I think that's what her comments reflect--a basic lack of interest in the case and what it means to property rights. It also reflects a failure to appreciate what property rights mean to Americans. Although we speak of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," people forget that "life, liberty and property" was a very popular declaration of rights in the colonies. I think that Pelosi's lack of interest in Kelo results from being out-of-touch with what's important to "the man on the street" in places like Ohio, Florida and Texas. The Dem leadership won't even be aware that people are coming unglued over this until they get some polling data on it. Even then, they won't understand it. This is just another illustration of the Dems being out-of-touch. Until the Dems clear their ranks of the radical lefties, we can continue to expect to see more of the same.


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