Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Officials of and lawyers for Columbia University must be chortling in ecstatic gloat. They’ve gotten away with something very much like theft.

But it’s all above-board and legal, thanks to the Supreme Court, which would not hear the case of property owner Nick Sprayregen, from whom Columbia aims to take property. Sprayregen doesn’t want to sell, as he makes quite clear in something he wrote a few days ago for The Huffington Post.

Yup, this is another travesty of “eminent domain.”

Actually, I’ve written about this case before. Two years ago I called your attention to some of what was going on, calling it a scam: “Columbia has acquired many buildings in the neighborhood, but is not maintaining them. Because of Columbia’s own run-down buildings, the state has formally declared the neighborhood to be ‘blighted.’ If the entire area is now condemned, full ownership can be transferred to Columbia.” In 2009, Damon Root wrote in the New York Post more extensively about Columbia’s tricky maneuvers.

The first legal battle against Columbia succeeded, but an appeals court ruled against that initial finding, on dubious grounds.

Sprayregen understands what’s at issue:

Eminent domain is not for private institutions like Columbia to expand their profit-making efforts beyond what the free market would allow. I believe that what Columbia has been trying to do is illegal. . . .

You might think that the Supreme Court, after Kelo, would want to clarify the matter. No such luck.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


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  2. […] Common Sense with Paul Jacob: Sad Ending to a Vexing Tale Officials of and lawyers for Columbia University must be chortling in […]

  3. Drik says:

    The Supreme Court does not want to address this issue as it would highlight it’s decision that is against what most of the people in this country understand to be the interpretation of “public use”.

    The Constitution was written by very smart men, wordswmiths, who had no difficulty with the words that they used and the context of the time and did not expect them to be twisted by lawyers to mean other than what is obvious.
    The liberal Supreme Court, in the process af catering to the left, stretched the definitions of the words in the Constitution to cover something that it was never meant to cover and to give the imperialist state powers that the American revolution was fought to undo, ie that the whims of the government, like royalty, took precedence over the rights of an individual.
    Now they act like spoiled children and will not wilingly go to the table where they would have to acknowlege their perfidy.

  4. Jay says:


    Otherwise, I agree with Dirk, mostly.

  5. Tony says:

    If this is the way to run business, we are doomed. Anything can be fixed, and changed with money. The supreme court must address this case. We need to force them to do so. Publicize it, and have the people write complaints to the court. May be the tea party should join in it. What is new? The country is in turmoil. Confusion reigns. We are a country divided, and the British proved the motto:”Divide and rule”
    We turned our back to God, and He is leaving us alone to our detriment. Stick to the Biblical statement:
    “Man cannot do anything good by himself, with God all is possible.”
    This is proving itself to be correct.
    Lord have mercy on us, and show us the way to recovery.

  6. Earl A. Bage says:

    A big `AMEN’ to Tony’s `View-Of-Truth’. And to help understand this Truth more fully, please read `BROKE’, by Glen Beck. s/AnvilAmos

  7. Pat says:

    History is cyclical. The robber barons have returned, but now most are in the government. We can no longer count on government to secure our rights, which was once its primary function.

  8. Dennis says:

    The latest data on population of America and the number of lawyers in America show that there is a lawyer for every 340 American citizens. The same source of data shows that there is a lawyer in Washington DC for every 14 DC residents. Both of these numbers mean that there are too many lawyers for each of them to have a successful private law practice. That is why so many migrate to Washington and use their law degree not for the benefit of citizens but for their own benefit. Supreme Court Justice Scalia has publicaly said that there are too many lawyers. We do not have a democratic government. We have a bureaucratic government. Congress has avoided being responsible for tough decisions by giving the job AND RESPONSIBILITY to bureaucracts who can make decisions that have the force of law. The bureaucratss are unelected, unknown, not identified, and many are highly paid. The American budget is loaded with bureaucrats that run America. Our elections are execises that just pass the power from one political party to the other. They trade power to each other periodically so as to give the impression that the voters can change things. The Republicans are just as guilty as the Democrats. America does not have three branches of Federal governmnt. we have four branches, Judicial, Executive, Legislative and Bureaucratic. The politicians like it that way and will not change unless there is some kind of a revolt/revolution. We do not have “the rule of law” we have the “rule of lawyers”. That is why there never has been and never will have any federal tort reform legislation

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