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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

The law and the jungle

PKA update

Three states have put tougher restrictions on the taking of private property. It's looking more and more like the Supreme Court's Kelo decision will have the overall beneficial effect of waking people up to how far eminent domain has gone in this country.

Nonsense from the left and right

Concerning Supreme Court nominations, a couple of questions:

1. For President Bush: How tough is it really going to be to "take a good, long look" at a second nomination necessitated by the death of William Rehnquist, since you went through every single possibility thoroughly after Sandra Day O'Connor said she wanted to quit and before you selected John Roberts? You know whom you're going to name, so quit fooling around with us.


More post-Kelo America stuff. I hope eminent domain becomes a campaign issue in Indiana politics, too.

Not a plain old justice

Now that John Roberts might be chief justice instead of just a plain old justice, how can we sleep not knowing how he would vote on the unexamined but crucial Third Amendment?

After Rehnquist

William Rehnquist has died. As chief justice he was able somehow to coax some harmony from the "nine scorpions in a bottle." That leadership quality is likely to be just as immportant as ideological leaning in his replacement as chief justice. Putting John Roberts on the bench is the appointment that changes the court's philosophical alignment -- the "moderate," swing-voting Sandra Day O'Connor replaced with someone who at least appears to be a committed conservative.

Two Hoosier kids made good

Of course, I want to hear what he has to say first, and I won't make any judgments until I actually do hear it. No, I don't mean what John Roberts will say in answer to questions at his Senate confirmation hearings for a Supreme Court seat. I mean what Sen. Evan Bayh says when he introduces Roberts to the Senate committee. Bayh says he's doing this as a courtesy because both of them are Hoosiers (sort of) and to reduce the level of incivility in Washington.

Executing the mentally ill

In commuting the death sentence of Arthur P. Baird II, Gov. Mitch Daniels has not quite set the stage for the debate on capital punishment and the profoundly mentally ill that some had hoped would begin. The governor mostly talked about the fact that life without parole was not an option when Baird was convicted, and the victims' family members and all the jurors who have made their opinions known would have preferred that sentence for him.

Pay no attention to the man in the closet

I shouldn't speak ill of the dead, but the victim of this crime must have been really clueless. "The police investigation revealed that without her husband knowing it, Martha Freeman had allowed her boyfriend, Rafael DeJesus Rocha-Perez, to live in the couple's bedroom closet for several weeks before the murder."

They'll make an offer; you can't refuse

"You don't own anything anymore. The government owns it and can do anything they want to with it." Welcome to post-Kelo America.

Ultimate crimes, ultimate punishment

Should we make application of the death penalty swifter by shortening the appeals process? We have another execution scheduled for Aug. 31, which would contribute to our record-setting year. It's not that the state has suddenly become bloodthirsty, but that a lot of appeals are running out at the same time; the guy next up committed his crimes back in 1985.