The journey was tortuous on the way to stalemate, as public opinion and the political system opposed each other over eminent domain and its implications. The reform process had all the characteristics of a diplomatic negotiation between hostile parties. Trying to make sense of proposed reforms was like trying to read a statement through gauze. Public opinion was startled to find its supposed servant, the political system, alienated by the idea of taking facts out of the political system. Public opinion could not look to the political system for assistance, so public opinion’s own formulations—reflecting decades of abdication of political responsibility—made it extremely difficult to discern what public opinion wanted. For its part, the political system recognized an enemy in public opinion and determined to make no concessions. The language it offered contained no facts of importance to public opinion, and addressed none of the mechanisms of power which the political system had increasingly placed outside the political process and out of public view.
The response to Kelo was an upheaval of established means and ends. The political system couldn’t think beyond business as usual and didn’t know what public opinion expected of it. For the political system, Federal tax and spend powers and state general welfare powers, meant minimum scrutiny for almost every fact; it was not about to allow public opinion to change that situation. The judiciary struggled to be relevant and had no idea what public opinion or the po-