Sunday, April 14, 2013

Kelo v. City of New London, Connecticut case brief

Kelo v. City of New London, Connecticut case brief summary
545 U.S. 469

Respondent development agent, on behalf of respondent city, initiated condemnation proceedings with respect to land owned by petitioners, nine property owners. The trial court prohibited the taking of certain properties, but the Connecticut Supreme Court reversed that finding and upheld all of the takings. The owners petitioned for a writ of certiorari, which the United States Supreme Court granted.

OVERVIEW: The city approved a development plan that had been submitted by the development agent. The plan called for construction of a waterfront hotel, restaurants, retail stores, residences, and office space; also, portions of the development area were to be used for marinas and for support services. The city authorized the agent to purchase property in the development area or to acquire it by eminent domain. The agent purchased most of the required property, but the nine owners refused to sell.

The Court found that the development plan served a public purpose and therefore constituted a public use under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

The plan was not adopted to benefit a particular class of identifiable individuals. Although the owners' properties were not blighted, the city's determination that a program of economic rejuvenation was justified was entitled to deference. There was no basis for exempting economic development from the broad definition of "public purpose." The Court declined to require a reasonable certainty that the expected public benefits would accrue, nor was it proper to second-guess the city's determination of the boundary of the development area.

OUTCOME: The judgment of the Connecticut Supreme Court was affirmed.

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