A regular reader e-mailed me with his thoughts on the recent decision against Centene and Clayton in the ongoing battle over eminent domain, the planned Centene development and whether or not a prime corner in one of St. Louis County's wealthiest cities is 'blighted.' He asked if the fact that the decision is not being 'published' means that Clayton residents now have a protection against eminent domain that residents in the rest of Missouri don't? As the Post article today explains, if the opinion against Centene was published it would be binding on similar cases in Eastern Missouri, but as it is not being published it is therefore not binding. Sorry for the double negative, but I think that was the proper way to put it. Anyway, I am not a lawyer, unlike my wife, dad, step-dad, step-mom, one out of three brothers, brother-in-law, former boss, and most of my friends, so I can't give any definitive answers here. However, I think this is an example of common-sense kicking its way into the legal system, as the appellate judges seemed well aware that the State Supreme Court would be making its own decision no matter how they ruled, so why bother with some of the formalities? As the Supreme Court is expected to rule in a short period of time, as far as these things go, and there are no similar cases being decided in the near future, why kill more trees than you have to and publish the opinion?
My correspondent further wrote that in his opinion, "Social liability is purposely created by local city councils." I don't know if he meant that as a general statement or specific to Clayton and Centene, but as a general statement about how governments get what they want I agree with him completely.