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RUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, I want to talk a little bit here before we have to go today about the Supreme Court. There are still a bunch of cases yet to be announced next week, and they’re already decided. They’re just writing the opinions here. The majority opinion, the dissenting opinions. That may already be done, too. The court will go on a three-month recess next week when these decisions are all handed out, but it’s already done. They’re not still in there debating these things. In fact, they don’t debate. They take individual votes and that’s how this is decided. But the Ten Commandments case is going to come next week, but there’s also some other things coming — and there was a ruling on Monday. It didn’t get a whole lot of attention, but it was about property rights. “The Supreme Court said yesterday that people who lose state lawsuits claiming the government improperly took their property cannot count on federal courts for help. Land rights [property rights] is a major issue at the high court this year, and so far the justices have made it tougher for people to win lawsuits claiming that local and state laws amount to an unconstitutional ‘taking.’

“The biggest of three cases dealing with government authority to seize properties” will be announced next week. “In yesterday’s decision, the justices ruled against a historic San Francisco hotel that wanted to convert rooms previously designated for permanent residents to accommodate tourists. The city had restrictions on hotel changes, as part of an ordinance intended to preserve housing for the poor, disabled and elderly. When the San Remo Hotel was ordered to pay $567,000, it sued in state court and narrowly lost at the California Supreme Court in 2002.” Now, this brings Janice Rogers Brown into the picture because she was a California Supreme Court Justice then. She “supported the hotel and wrote a strongly worded dissent, used by some senators in opposing her recent elevation to a federal appeals court.” What she wrote is this: “Theft is theft even when the government approves of the thievery.

Turning a democracy into a kleptocracy does not enhance the stature of the thieves, it only diminishes the legitimacy of the government.”

Now, “There were no harsh words in Monday’s decision because it was nine to zip.” It was unanimous. The Supreme Court found that the 62-room hotel could not pursue a federal case because state courts had already addressed all the issues.”

A Notre Dame law professor, Nicole Garnett said, “This is a big victory for local governments.” The ruling was the second in a land-rights case.

“Last month the court ruled that Hawaii did not overstep its authority in putting caps on the rent paid by dealer-run gas stations, part of an effort to control gasoline costs.” So if I understand it right, this hotel in San Francisco, the San Remo — and it was it property. Of course it owns it. The San Remo is owned by the people that own the San Remo. They wanted to convert some of the rooms to accommodate tourists, which is what a hotel does. You rent rooms to the people that come in town, and the City of San Francisco said, “No, you can’t do that. There’s an ordinance here that preserves housing for the poor, the disabled and the elderly, and you gotta keep those rooms for those people.”

So the San Remo was ordered to pay $567,000 in fines because they went ahead and violated the ordinance. It went all the way to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court basically said, “If the state tells you that you have to do with your property what the state tells you then you’ve got no recourse to come to us, because the state explored all the issues.”

So they didn’t really lose the property. I mean, the city or the state didn’t take the hotel away from them, but they’re basically dictating to the owners how they have to run it so it may as well be the same thing. So these people own a hotel but the state it is, “Yeah, you gotta keep these rooms open,” or did the state take it from them? The state didn’t take it but the effect is the same. But it was a 9-0 decision. So I don’t know what this bodes for the next decision on land rights, property rights, coming next week.

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