The Badger Herald editorial board believes UW was well within its rights to kick the Brothers' Bar and Grill off their land on University Ave to make room for a new UW School of Music building.
The Herald is correct. A UW building is a public interest and use of eminent domain for its construction is therefore constitutionally authorized, even if we insist on using the most stringent criteria for eminent domain (i.e. not the criteria established in Kelo vs. New London).
What I don't particularly understand is the Herald's endorsement of a plan that would require the legislature to approve every use of eminent domain. Eminent domain is never popular. Nobody wants to have to move to make room for a road, a dump or the Herb Kohl Center for Ethnomusicology (it'll happen, trust me). That's why it is in the constitution. It's a necessity and every use of it shouldn't be a political issue.
UW needs the ability to pursue its expansion and development without having to worry about Rep. Steve Nass being chair of the Assembly Committee on Universities and Colleges. Nass, who is thankfully only the ranking member of the committee because the GOP is in the minority, once threatened to cut all funding to the law school and proposed a law to prohibit professors from making "anti-American" statements. Luckily Nass does not appear intelligent enough to make it to D.C. to make us proud like McCarthy did. He simply takes orders from his quasi-fascist chief of staff.
Also, Emily Mills opined on this issue a few days ago and Eric Forney, one of the owners of Brothers, left a lengthy response.