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A critic of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that governments may seize private property for economic development is suggesting the process be used to replace Justice David Souter’s New Hampshire home with a hotel. “The justification for such an eminent domain action is that our hotel will better serve the public interest as it will bring in economic development and higher tax revenue to Weare,” Logan Darrow Clements wrote in a fax to town officials in Weare, N.H., on Tuesday. Souter, a longtime Weare resident, joined in last week’s 5-4 court decision that said governments may seize private property for private development if doing so would benefit a community. Clements is CEO of Los Angeles-based Freestar Media, which fights “abusive” government. “This is not a prank,” he said in a news release on the Freestar Media Web site. Clements did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking additional comment Wednesday. A telephone call was answered with a recording saying his voice mailbox was full. Police cars were parked at the edge of Souter’s property Tuesday in response to the letter. “It was a precaution, just being protective,” said police Lt. Mark Bodanza. Souter was assaulted while jogging in Washington in May 2004. Clements’ letter was given to the board of selectmen. If the five-member board were to endorse the hotel project, zoning laws would have to be changed and the hotel would have to get approval from the planning board. “At this point, the Board of Selectmen are taking no action,” chairwoman Laura Buono said Wednesday in an e-mail. “Am I taking this seriously? But of course,” said Charles Meany, Weare’s code enforcement officer. “If it is their right to pursue this type of end, then by all means let the process begin.” Meany did not immediately respond to a call seeking details on the process. There was no immediate response to a call seeking comment from Souter. Souter’s two-story colonial farmhouse is assessed at just over $100,000 and brought in $2,895 in property taxes last year. The Supreme Court case involved the city of New London, Conn., which wants to seize property to make way for a hotel and convention center. The majority opinion said New London could pursue private development under the Fifth Amendment, which allows governments to take private property if the land is for public use. It said the project the city has in mind promises to produce jobs and revenue. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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