Kelo v. the City of New London
Located in southeastern Connecticut, the City of New London has been trying to revitalize part of the city that has faced years of decline. After the Federal Government closed the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in 1996, the unemployment rate for the City almost doubled. Because the state had designated the City of New London as a distressed municipality in 1990 and with the dwindling of its population to 1920s levels, the state and local officials chose the city for economic development. In order to do so, they had hired a development firm to purchase and develop a parcel of land based on the city’s approved plans. The area they were trying to develop was in its downtown and waterfront section. They planned to construct retail and office space, residential and commercial properties, hotels, restaurants, a museum, a pedestrian riverwalk, residences, marinas, and parking spaces. The city authorized its development agent to purchase all of the property in the proposed development area and to use eminent domain if necessary to acquire those properties that couldn’t be bought. But not all of the owners of the property in the proposed development area wanted to give up their property without a fight. Nine owners out of the 15 wanted to save their property being that some had lived there most of their lives and others had invested time and money into renovating their property. Since these nine unwilling sellers would not give up their property, the city used the US Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, which allowed the government to take private property for “public use”, to acquire the land they needed for the development.
The case of Kelo v. the City of New London brings up several legal issues. One of which is the interpretation of the Fifth Amendment’s taking of private property and when that is permissible. The other legal issue is...