* 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? IV. Answer(s) 1. Yes, because it empowers the people and not just the wills of an individual. V. Reason(s): “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 “public purpose” test. Aragones, P. , dissenting
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES No. 04—108 SUSETTE KELO, et al. , PETITIONERS v. CITY OF NEW LONDON, CONNECTICUT, et al. ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF CONNECTICUT [June 18, 2011] Justice Aragones, with whom The Chief Justice, Justice Scalia, and Justice Thomas join, dissenting. When the framers of the constitution created the Constitution for this great nation, they included the Fifth Amendment, which included the fact that: “…No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property… nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
As justices Ginsberg, Breyer, Souter, Scalia, and Kennedy concurred with the question, “Does a city violate the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause if the city takes private property and sells it for private development, with the hopes the development will help the city’s bad economy? ” I do not agree. Through logical reasoning, and judicial review, facts and interpretation have led me to disagree with this. With this ruling, this court has doomed the life of an individual of this country, and in doing so; violate their rights under the constitution.
This ruling also strengthens the country’s power of “eminent domain” and, it again, violates the rights of the people under whom this government was meant to serve. Accordingly, I respectfully dissent. I The petitioners in this case are nine residents and investment owners of 15 homes in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood of New London, Connecticut. One petitioner’s family has lived in said property for about 100 years without any complaint. Another such individual had moved in during marriage, such hat even their son lives next door. Two other petitioners keep rental properties in the neighborhood and have paid due taxes and bills, and all petitioners have good records of no criminal convictions. In February 1998, Pfizer Inc. , announced it would construct a worldwide headquarter on the land in Fort Trumbull. More specifically, on the petitioner’s properties. Two months later, the government of Fort Trumbull accepted Pfizter’s job on their property without consulting the property owners knowing.
This new building would total a redevelopment of 90 acres of Fort Trumbull in order to “complement the facility that Pfizer was planning to build, create jobs, increase tax and other revenues, encourage public access to and use of the city’s waterfront, and eventually ‘build momentum’ for the revitalization of the rest of the city. ” The specific property affecting the private owner’s would serve as a parking lot for this headquarters. So, these nine properties, with sentimental values would be used as a open parking lot, in use for the sole purpose of parking other people’s cars.
To save their homes from becoming open land, the nine petitioners sued New London and Pfizter Inc. , to whom New London has given eminent domain power. The petitioners argue that what incorporation is doing, and what the government of the state has allowed violates their fifth amendment rights. Petitioners are not arguing about the fact of a new headquarter being built in their neighborhood, rather, they are opposed to their property being taken for public use, when the property will end up with the corporation.
Also, the petitioners argue that although they can take other land, they cannot take theirs for the sole reason of the current usage of the land is not as beneficial to society in their hands than in a corporation’s. II The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution says that “private property shall not be taken for public use, without just compensation. ” As we are not presenting bias toward the petitioners or the respondents we must follow the precedent set in “Wright v. United States, 302 U. S. 83, 588 (1938)” which say that no word/s has been taken out unnecessarily. Previous court decisions have all lead to the assumptions that we as a court and nation, maintain that people are ensured to stable property ownership because of the safeguards against excessive, unpredictable, or unfair use of the government’s eminent domain power. This stand strong in this court ruling, which should have been followed through with because these are people who ultimately are unable to protect themselves in the political process against the majority’s will.
The Takings Clause, states that eminent domain power of a government can be justified if a party involved were guaranteed “just compensation” if private property is taken for public use. This clause makes it so that the government can take private property without the owner’s consent, however, what is and defines, “just compensation. ” There is no clear definition for what they will be compensated for. This brings into question whether or not this clause is actually right and fair toward the people. I will argue now that it is not.
It gives too much power to the government, and the people, who are not part of checks and balances, are held to their whim. So, I also contend that this clause be taken out in order to respect the people’s natural rights. Herein lays the other question of, where is the line between “public” and “private” property use? As a judge on the Supreme Court I hold that indeed a lot of projects are used to benefit the public and sometimes private use, however, we as a whole do not see the clear distinction between the two.
If we were to get a clear definition, an external source would have to define it with no bias or malice toward this topic and ruling. Until this is done, no logical interpretations or assumptions can be made on whether or not this ruling is truly right. If this use of eminent domain were to be withheld within the nation, it is the role of the government not to abuse this power. However, through the events of this case, we see that the government cannot be trusted entirely on decisions. As such, I maintain restrictions and limitations to the eminent domain power of the government should be created to protect the rights of the citizens.
The first restriction would be that the power would not be used to remove a less beneficial person from their home so that a more beneficial process could occur. A limitation of this would be the interpretation that beneficial means a direct implication comes out of being beneficial. So, if one were to have no effects in the short or long term to society, then, and only then could this power be called upon. The next restriction would be that the property owner/s be immediately compromised for their troubles at a payment of equal or more values, not including the sentimental objects an individual may claim to have lost.
A limitation to this is that, documentation and consent to remove the said properties must be had by both parties involved, and payment must only be made after this process is conducted. The original purpose of respondent’s project was to “create in excess of 1,000 jobs, to increase tax and other revenues, and to revitalize an economically distressed city, including its downtown and waterfront areas. ” Seeing that the things that this project would accomplish seems to attack intractable problems plagued by most cities around the world.
As such, there is no way to clearly “revitalize an economically distressed city, downtown, and waterfront societies. ” The reason for this project is plagued by flaws intended to confuse the people, and impress the government into giving eminent domain powers to this corporation. Under this, I hold that this favors one party over the other, and as such should not be followed. Under the Fifth Amendment rights of citizens, people “shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property… nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. However, with the use of the phrase “public use”, the power issued by eminent domain would be far superior to that of the government itself because they can manipulate the usage of the phrase. Thus, I hold that the ruling conducted by my colleagues on the chair is wrong, for the actions created by the usage of eminent domain by corporations, indeed violates the fifth amendment because it takes away private property without a clear handhold and understanding of a just compensation.
I also recognize the inability of the court to evaluate whether or not, in a given case, eminent domain is a necessary means by which to pursue the legislature’s ends. I have come to this conclusion because there are many flaws to the government which limits what can or cannot be done. Eminent domain falls into this class, and as such, I recognize it as something we cannot accurately address. Theoretically, if there were a practical way to isolate motives behind a given taking of private property, the actions taken following it are flawed.
If for example, the taking if indeed for the intended purpose of public use, then why have the petitioners given voice that their Fifth Amendment rights are violated? Just as the motives are theoretically flawed, so too are the practical and plausible solutions to this example, and as such it leads to another conclusion that, how much the government desires someone to benefit from a favored private party has no bearing on whether an economic development taking will have a benefit to the public.
Furthermore, we cannot clearly and accurately make sure that the people are compensated, for that is out of our jurisdiction. The petitioner’s in this case are ensured equal compensation, but again, how do we know that they receive it besides word of mouth. Also, if the property taken from these people are not completed, what then? Are these people allowed back to their homes, or are they no longer subject to their old property even though now, there is no public use in the area?
It is for that we do not clearly know if the actions in eminent domain are justified. Finally, I would contend now, that at the end of this dissent, the answer to the question of whether or not the taking of this property was constitutional. We see that though one component of the protection provided by the Takings Clause, that the government can take private property only if it provides “just compensation” for the taking, the Takings Clause also prohibits the government from taking property except “for public use. Were it otherwise, the Takings Clause would either be meaningless or empty. Now, in the context of this case, this truly is being upheld. As I now contend that the Takings Clause is either meaningless or empty, it becomes apparent how clear my answer to this question is. As this clause has no credit or bearing, I firmly hold on that the taking of the property in this case is unconstitutional. Written is my formal dissent, and again, I respectfully do not agree with the other judges on this court who ruled in concurrence in this case.