Wednesday, January 21, 2015

John Boehner's worst nightmare introduces law yanking Keystone XL eminent domain options in NE

Also: Should pipeline companies have eminent domain rights?

In none of the seven states atop the Ogallala aquifer has opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline been more militant than in Nebraska because no state has more pristine water at risk in the event of a spill. (Keystone 1 leaked 12-14 times in its first year of operation.)
     This month's 4-3 Nebraska Supreme Court decision agreed with landowners that LB1163 was unconstitutional in granting the governor pipeline siting authority instead of the Public Service Commission, and only failed to overturn the law because such action requires a supermajority of 5 votes in the state. Plaintiffs have refiled the lawsuit to resolve a "standing" issue. (Some were no longer in the pipeline's path after TransCanada moved the route.)
     Nebraska's Unicameral is the only single-body legislature in the U.S.A. and storied Senator Ernie Chambers is its only black member, but when he, the emperor of Cornhusker filibustering, hates a bill, it rarely gets passed. Or, if he really wants a bill passed, he'll hold another one hostage.
     Remember the legislator who sued God? That was Chambers and he's not crazy. (He was protesting constitutional provisions that preclude banning certain kinds of frivolous lawsuits.)
     This week Chambers introduced LB473, which will cancel the authority of TransCanada to file eminent domain proceedings in Nebraska as it has elsewhere.
     Deena Winter of Nebraska Watchdog recalled a memorable filibuster by Chambers in 2005 against legislation which later passed anyway, via referendum:
...He famously blocked a constitutional amendment in 2005 protecting the right to hunt and fish by introducing amendment after amendment protecting the right to do things such as create, recreate, converse, procreate, sit on the porch and drink lemonade, laugh, cough, itch, scratch, shear and “hunt for the link between Noah’s Ark, Joan of Arc and Archimedes.”

     Here's Chambers in 1966 in the Oscar-nominated documentary A Time For Burning.
     Below, in 2013, he got wound up over LGBT rights, which he vigorously defends:

Disclaimer: subtitles may not exactly reflect thoughts of subjects in video below:


3:30 Mail-order minister and self-declared atheist Chambers trolls for lawyers to help him find a gay couple to marry so he can sue Nebraska for not granting a marriage license

3:44 Calls Nebraska backward, among other things

4:38 Recounts his lawsuit to get chaplain out of legislature

7:18 Sen. Christensen takes the bait, expounds on "homersexuals"

10:26 Chambers talks about Thomas Jefferson and statutory rape, notes that like Washington, Jefferson and Patrick Henry, he also likes black women. (Chambers is black.)

13:22 Chambers drops the gay F-bomb

16:14 Chambers gets the tax employee benefits attorney to crack a smile by characterizing Catholic Church's indulgence of Michelangelo's same sex tendencies by claiming their position was "We got a little sugar in our britches sometimes also; we understand things like that."

17:37 Sen. Christensen gets some payback from Chambers, who never forgets anything, over a stray comment he made at a previous hearing about a gay neighbor

22:20 Impatient heterosexual supremacists revolt, fearing that they won't get to testify by the 2 pm cutoff of the five-hour hearing, as there is no end in sight to Chambers' monologue; Judiciary Committee Chairman Brad Ashford quells the insurrection

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