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Man behind 'Hotel Souter' visits justice's hometown

WEARE, N.H. -- Logan Darrow Clements flew across the country to visit Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter's hometown.

But the California man who wants to seize Souter's land through eminent domain to build a hotel didn't knock on the judge's front door when he stopped by yesterday afternoon.

''I don't want to go on his property," said Clements, who is behind the push to punish Souter for being one of five justices behind a ruling that supports government power to seize private property. The June decision allowed the city of New London, Conn., to take several older homes, so a private developer could build a hotel and convention center, office space, and condominiums.

''I just don't care to, but if he'd like to come out, I'd like to talk to him," Clements said.

Souter, who neighbors said was home, didn't come to the door.

Instead, Clements left gifts for Souter -- he draped a T-shirt across the justice's mailbox and propped a copy of Ayn Rand's ''Atlas Shrugged" behind it. The book, which promotes a philosophy of free will capitalism, is Clements's inspiration.

''I think it needs a coat of paint," he said of Souter's house.

Clements also was in town for a private strategy session with three local supporters and to promote his plan to townspeople at Weare's old Town Hall yesterday. He and his girlfriend, Heidi Xu, had hoped to recoup travel costs by selling $25 ''Lost Liberty Hotel" T-shirts.

But only about half-a-dozen people showed up.

''I just came to listen," said Heleen Kurk, a member of Weare's board of selectmen.

The selectmen, like most townspeople, have already said they don't support seizing anybody's land.

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