June 29, 2005

Man to try to seize home of Supreme Court justice

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California man, angry over a U.S.Supreme Court decision expanding government power to takeprivate property, says he will try to use the ruling to seizethe New Hampshire home of Justice David Souter and convert itinto a hotel to be named the Lost Liberty Hotel.

Souter voted with the 5-4 majority last week when theSupreme Court ruled a Connecticut city could use its powers ofeminent domain to take private homes to make way for ariverfront hotel, health club and offices.

The justices said the project served a public purpose ofrevitalizing a depressed local economy, but critics have calledthe ruling an unprecedented expansion of the powers ofgovernment to seize private property in America.

"This is a serious project and if we get enough money frominvestors we will proceed with it," said Logan Darrow Clements,who runs a California video production company called FreestarMedia that he said is dedicated to exposing abuses of power.

"It's solely for the purpose of showing (Souter) that hisdecision was unjust," he said. "We hope to make a profit aswell but I don't agree with eminent domain so the irony is thatwe are going to use eminent domain against him."

Clements said he had contacted officials in Weare, NewHampshire, for an application to build a hotel on the propertywhere the Supreme Court justice's home now stands, arguing thata hotel would increase tax revenue and provide an economicboost.

He said the hotel would be called the Lost Liberty Hoteland would include a restaurant called the Just Desserts Cafeand a museum with a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom inAmerica.

He said instead of a Gideon's Bible, each room wouldinclude a copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged," which manypeople embrace as a treatise on liberty and self-determination.

"This is not a prank," he said. "The town of Weare has fivepeople on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to usethe power of eminent domain to take this land (from JusticeSouter) we can begin our hotel development."

The Supreme Court had no comment on Clements' plan and theWeare Board of Selectmen could not immediately be reached forcomment.