West Wing Continuity Guide
path: Home / Who What Where - The Comma in the Takings Clause
What was that about Toby finding a typo in the Constitution?
"I found a typo [in the Constitution]... in the Takings Clause"

Amerndment 5 (including the Takings Clause):
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Now the above quotation has the comma in it (in red and bolded and larger for emphasis) — and see a copy of the parchment below — but we found this phrase quoted around the Internet with the comma sometimes in it and sometimes not.: And Craig T. Fifer emailed us "The National Archives has a high-resolution photo of their copy of the Constitution, at
http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/charters_downloads.html" [And here] "is the pertinent piece of parchment."
Takings Clause
So, who is the Tom Merrill to whom Toby referred the type/comma questions?
  • Legal Affairs
    "Thomas W. Merrill is the Charles Keller Beekman Professor at Columbia Law School and is the co-author of Property: Takings."
  • Arlen Specter Eminent Domain Hearing Blasts Columbia Law Professor Thomas Merrill
    "By the conclusion of the hearing it became clear, ironically as a consequence of the stunningly fallacious reasoning of Law Professor Thomas Merrill, that fundamentally the Kelo decision primarily helps the wealthy and politically connected bully the poor and politically unconnected. Merrill, attempting to argue on behalf of the Kelo decision, actually presumed the false dilemma that either the wealthy will take the property and pay just compensation with Kelo or if this new legislation is passed they will still take that property by means of rezoning and taxation. Either way, according to Merrill, the wealthy will take the private property of the poor. So a federal law limiting eminent domain will have no real effect."
  • Wikipedia on Thomas Merrill
    "Thomas Merrill is the Charles Keller Beekman Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. He received a BA from Grinnell College in 1971 and a BA with first-class honors in politics, philosophy and economics in 1973 from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He received his JD from the University of Chicago in 1977 and went on to clerk for Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun. Before coming to Columbia, Merrill was the John Paul Stevens Professor of Law at Northwestern University from 1993 to 2003. He also served as a Deputy Solicitor General from 1987 to 1990.

    Professor Merrill has published dozens of articles in the country's most prestigious law reviews, including the Harvard Law Review and Yale Law Journal. He has co-authored multiple textbooks, generally dealing with the laws of property."
  • The Columbia Journalist" "New Congressional Bill May Alter Legal Limbo for Guantanamo Bay Prisoners" By Meredith Kolodner
    "According to Constitutional legal scholar Thomas Merrill, the only other time in its history that the U.S. government formally suspended habeas corpus rights was when President Lincoln declared a state of emergency during the Civil War. The Supreme Court eventually ruled Lincolnšs actions un-Constitutional."

28 Amendment
Don't miss Neal Rechtman's election thriller The 28th Amendment in which an actor
who portrays a fictional US President on television gets drawn into real-world politics
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