125 S.Ct. 2655 (U.S. Sup. Ct. 2009)
Facts: In 1998, the city of New London, Connecticut, authorized a $3.5 million bond issue in support of plans initiated by the New London Development Corporation (NLDC). This decision followed a state designation of the area as a “distressed municipality” and the closing of a US Naval facility, which employed over 15,000 people. The NLDC plans proposed the development of about 90 acres of land in the Fort Trumbull area of New London. The proposed developments would utilize the 32 acres on which the naval base had been situated, as well as more than 115 privately owned properties. The proposition included plans for 80 new residencies as well as a substantial commercial district including a marina for both private and commercial use. The city hoped to capitalize on the planned building of a $300 million facility by the pharmaceuticals company, Pfizer Inc. The city council approved the plans in 2000, and the NLDC consequently purchased all but 15 lots of the specified area. Nine people, including Susette Kelo, Wilhelmina Dery, and Charles Dery refused to sell and the NLDC subsequently invoked the right of eminent domain. The nine property owners sued the city of New London, claiming that this violated their constitutional rights and did not adhere to the 5th Amendments “public use” restriction.
Issue: Is the city of New London, as represented by the NLDC, in violation of the property owners rights under the 5th Amendment?
Holding: No. The 5th Amendment states that “…private property [shall not] be taken or public use, without just compensation” The city of New London planned on developing the property for public use and to advance the interests of the public by forwarding the local economy, and the compensation offered the property owners was reasonable and therefore, just.
Reasoning: The court noted that while the government could not take the private property of one individual for the sole...