I. Case Title
Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005)
* The State Supreme Court of Connecticut held that the use of eminent domain for economic development did not violate the public use clauses of the state and federal constitutions. * The court also ruled constitutional the government delegation of its eminent domain power to a private entity. * The court held that if an economic project creates new jobs, increases tax and other city revenues, and revitalizes a depressed then the project qualifies as a public use. * This was the first eminent domain case since Midkiff to reach the Supreme Court. * Kelo became the focus of vigorous discussion and attracted numerous supporters on both sides. Some 40 amicus curiae briefs were filed in the case, 25 on behalf of the petitioners. Suzette Kelo's supporters ranged from the libertarian Institute for Justice to the NAACP, AARP, the late Martin Luther King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference and South Jersey Legal Services. The latter groups signed an amicus brief arguing that eminent domain has often been used against politically weak communities with high concentrations of minorities and elderly. * The case was argued on February 22, 2005. The case was heard by only seven members of the court with Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor presiding, as Chief Justice William Rehnquist was recuperating from medical treatment at home and Associate Justice John Paul Stevens was delayed on his return to Washington from Florida; both absent Justices read the briefs and oral argument transcripts and participated in the case decision. * During oral arguments, several of the Justices asked questions that forecast their ultimate positions on the case. III. Questions(s) Presented:
Is the government allowed to take place of private property if it benefits the economic good and overall good of the public?
1. Yes, because it empowers the people and not just the wills of an individual.
"The use of eminent domain for economic development did not violate the public use clauses of the state and federal constitutions. The court held that if an economic project creates new jobs, increases tax and other city revenues, and revitalizes a depressed urban area."
VI. Concurring Opinion(s):
* Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Justice Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion. Kelo v. City of New London did not establish entirely new law concerning eminent domain. Although the decision was controversial, it was not the first time “public use” had been interpreted by the Supreme Court as “public purpose.” In the majority opinion, Justice Stevens wrote the "Court long ago rejected any literal requirement that condemned property be put into use for the general public" The Fifth Amendment was interpreted the same way as in Midkiff and other earlier eminent domain cases.
VII. Dissenting Opinion(s):
On June 25, 2005, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote the principal dissent, joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist, Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas. The dissenting opinion suggested that the use of this taking power in a reverse Robin Hood fashion. Take from the poor, give to the rich. O’Connor argued that the decision eliminates "any distinction between private and public use of property — and thereby effectively deletes the words 'for public use' from the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment." Clarence Thomas also made a dissent, in which he argued that the precedents the court's decision relied upon were flawed and that "something has gone seriously awry with this Court's interpretation of the Constitution." He accuses the majority of replacing the Fifth Amendment's "Public Use" clause with a very different...