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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Sign of overreach: A case that abuses First and Fifth Amendments

By George Will



JewishWorldReview.com | NORFOLK--- A drearily familiar dialectic is on display here: Government is behaving badly in order to silence protests of other bad behavior. It is violating the Constitution’s First Amendment, stifling speech about its violation of the Fifth Amendment, as it was properly construed until 2005.

Founded in 1934, Central Radio maintains communication, sonar and camera equipment on vessels at Norfolk Naval Station. The business is in a building designed for its needs near the waterfront. Company Vice President Kelly Dickinson says, “We can drive five minutes and be on board a ship.”

But Old Dominion University (ODU) is nearby and covetous. It wants the land on which Central Radio sits, and through ODU’s Real Estate Foundation it is well along toward seizing it by inciting the city government to wield the power of eminent domain. Condemnation proceedings against Central Radio have moved to the compensation phase. Dickinson says that the compensation will be insufficient to enable the business to construct a comparable building, let alone buy land for it. ODU, whose plans for the neighborhood remain interestingly vague and may include a shopping center, is exploiting the judicial evisceration of the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause, the history of which is this:

The Constitution’s authors, who did not scatter adjectives carelessly, said that property may be taken for “public” uses, meaning things — roads, bridges, buildings, etc. — directly owned by government and used by the general public. In 1954, however, in a case arising from what was then complacently called “urban renewal,” the Supreme Court expanded the category of “public use” to include the “public purpose” of curing “blight,” a concept of enormous elasticity when wielded by rapacious city governments. In 2005, in the Kelo case from New London, Conn., the court radically attenuated the “public use” restriction on takings. The court held, on a 5 to 4 decision, that a city government can seize an unblighted neighborhood for the supposed “public” purpose of turning it over to a private business that, being wealthier than the previous owners, would be a richer source of tax revenue for the taking government.


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In this appalling decision, the majority serenely said that governments could be restrained by public opinion aroused against abuses of eminent domain. Now, however, Norfolk’s government is suppressing Central Radio’s speech protesting what the city is doing.

In their desperation, the company’s executives hung from their building, facing busy Hampton Boulevard, a 375-square-foot banner proclaiming:

50 YEARS ON THIS STREET

78 YEARS IN NORFOLK

100 WORKERS

THREATENED BY EMINENT DOMAIN!

In the banner’s lower right-hand corner is a circle with a red slash through the words “Eminent Domain Abuse.”

Today that circle is all that is visible. The city, acting on a complaint by ODU’s Real Estate Foundation — the entity trying to seize the company’s property — says that the size of the full sign violates Norfolk’s sign code. Norfolk’s behavior is unconstitutional because:

The city’s sign code, which is of rabbinical complexity, has been capriciously enforced — some banners on city and private buildings violate the code’s size restrictions. The code is more permissive regarding signs with particular content (e.g., government messages or religious symbols), which violates First Amendment jurisprudence prohibiting content discrimination. The sign code is suddenly being more evenhandedly enforced but only because, a city official admits, since Central Radio began protesting, “people are watching.” Furthermore, any content-based speech restriction must pass judicial “strict scrutiny” by establishing it is necessary to achieve a compelling governmental interest, but the government’s only interest in restricting Central Radio is to make it easier for the government to throw its weight around.

We have seen this before. A few years ago, a St. Louis man whose property was being seized under Kelo’s permission for government theft adorned his building with a sign similar in size and message to that of Central Radio’s. The city government tried to silence him with sign restrictions as flawed and capriciously enforced as Norfolk’s are. An alderwoman explained with ruinous candor: “If this sign is allowed to remain, then anyone with property along any thoroughfare can paint signs . . . to influence passersby and with no control by any city agency.” Uncontrolled speech? Gracious.

The St. Louis man trounced the city in his sign dispute, helped by the Institute for Justice, a little platoon of libertarian litigators who roam the country putting leashes on misbehaving governments. Because IJ is representing Central Radio’s First Amendment rights, Norfolk may have to content itself with traducing only one provision, rather than two, of the Bill of Rights.



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George Will's latest book is "With a Happy Eye but: America and the World, 1997-2002" to purchase a copy, click here. Comment on this column by clicking here.

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