Kelo et al v. City of New London et al Supreme Court of the United States, 2005 545 U.S. 469 (2005)
Facts 1990- City of New London New London Development Corporation (NLDC) 1998- State authorized development in Ft. Trumball area 2000- NLDC negotiated the purchase of most of the real estate
Procedure Petitioners brought action to court Judge granted restraining order Appeals court held over a dissent Court granted certiorari
Issue Whether the City of New London’s proposed disposition of the property qualifies as a “public use” within the meaning of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.
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.
Holding Yes. Court affirms judgment, declaring taking should be upheld as consistent with Public Use Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.
Eminent Domain"... the property of subjects is under the eminent domain of the state, so that the state or he who acts for it may use and even alienate and destroy such property, not only in the case of extreme necessity, in which even private persons have a right over the property of others, but for ends of public utility, to which ends those who founded civil society must be supposed to have intended that private ends should give way. But it is to be added that when this is done the state is bound to make good the loss to those who lose their property."
Reasoning Petitioner / property makeup & history. Only reason for condemnation was project. Comparable cases – legitimate purpose. Community development plan = whole. Public use = Purpose (vs. mechanics). Entirety of plan. Accepted function of government & its role. No private beneficiaries. States may create other guidelines.
Dissenting Opinions Justice O’ Connor Justice Scalia Justice Thomas
Impact/Relevance Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party. “Urban renewal” programs will be allowed to take land for economic goals.