Kelo vs. City of New London
Kelo v. City of New London 545 U.S. 469 (2005) the U.S. Supreme Court answered “yes” to the question of whether or not taking land for the sole purpose of economic improvement would fall into the realm of public use requirement set forth in the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause.
The city of New London Connecticut had made economic recovery efforts to sustain a severely downtrodden local economy. Those efforts included a plan to acquire 115 parcels of real estate in order to redevelop an area of commercial, residential and recreational elements. The plan consisted of removing homes to build a new development in order to create jobs, increase tax revenue, and better allow for the city to capitalize on the plans of the major pharmaceutical company Pfizer which had already planned to build a large facility close by. Of the 115 homes, some homeowners, including Susette Kelo, refused to sell and filed suit stating that the removal of their homes violated the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause.
New London exercised eminent domain stating the public use stipulation. Ethical Facts:
The right to life, liberty, and property could be construed as being violated should a government acquire land in order to increase tax revenue and build improved economic conditions. When looking at the ethical issues of Kelo v. City of New London, John Locke’s “Lockean Rights” come into question.
Business ethics are in question when private land is being acquired only to be given to another private individual(s). Legal Analysis
The Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause states that eminent domain must be used with “just compensation” and that States have the power of eminent domain should the land acquired be used for a meaningful public use. -
The question at hand in center of suit is whether or not public purpose could be construed as public use without violating the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause. Under the public use requirement, the government cannot simply take property from one private party and give ownership to another private party. Application of law/legal principles to the case facts:
Eminent Domain is the appropriation of a citizen’s private property, usually land, without the consent of that citizen. Eminent Domain is only to be used when land is seized for government use such as highways, military bases, and public utilities; or when the government delegates such land to a third party to be developed and used for public use.
The last clause of the Fifth Amendment is the Takings Clause which limits the power of eminent domain use to give just compensation when property is taken for public use. Since the Takings Clause has been incorporated within the Fourteenth Amendment, it applies to all states. As stated in Mallor, pp 84-85, four aspects of the Takings Clause are: -
Property. The Takings Clause protects other property interests besides land and interests in land. The clause has been held to take personal property, liens, trade secrets, and contract rights. Mallor p. 84 -
Taking. The taking clause has a wide range of application due to the government activities included in considered takings. Among the factors courts consider in such ‘regulatory taking’ cases are the degree to which government deprives the owner of free possession, use, and disposition of his property; the overall economic impact of the regulation on the owner; and how much the regulation interferes with the owner’s reasonable investment-backed expectations regarding the future use of the property. Mallor p. 84 -
Public use. Once a taking of property has occurred, it is unconstitutional unless it is for public use. Mallor p. 85 -
Just compensation. Even if a taking of property is for a public use, it still is unconstitutional if the property owner does not receive just compensation. Although the standards for determining just compensation vary with the circumstances, the basic test is the far...
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