Case Study: Kelo V. New London

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REAL ESTATE FUNDAMENTALS FALL 2014 Monica Skibicki, Ozioma Nwofor, Kelly Moran TEAM RESEARCH PAPER: Kelo v. New London PART1 1. The doctrine of eminent domain is power the government has to take private property for public use and to only have to compensate the owner for the private property. For this, the government does not need the private property owner’s consent. Private owners have the right to oppose the taking of the property but are generally unsuccessful. Both federal and state governments have the power of eminent domain. However, eminent domain can also be delegated by the state when places such as municipalities, school board, or even people or corporations are authorized to exercise the…show more content…
The main dissenting voice in this case was that of Justice O'Connor joined in part by Justice Rehnquist and Justices Scalia and Thomas. They saw the condemnation of Kelo’s property for the proposed economic development as unconstitutional. The thought was rooted in the opinion that it goes against the rights established by the Fifth Amendment. That is quite a surprising fact given that in the case the Taking Clause in the Fifth Amendment was the basis for the original argument upheld by the Supreme Court. In the Taking clause provides that private property shall not be taken without just compensation and established reasoning of “public use”. The original court felt that both these criteria were met. But O’Connor disagreed on the latter of the two claiming that the limitations on the government were not very well kept in this case. O’Connors point was that taking a land from one private owner only to pass it on because they could in a sense upgrade the land was not a good enough to deem it for “public use”. In upholding this decision would give preferential favor the individuals with greater influence and political muscle like big corporations and development firms in political processes. Justice Thomas also harped on this perspective and focused on the Public Use Clause. The vagueness of the criteria of what is decided as “public use” was something not well explained in this case. The reasons making this claim for “public use” were based on ambiguous claims of prospective financial gains for citizens such as jobs and increased taxable revenue. Both arguments in dissent see the catastrophic impact for that of the original small private owner and call for stricter examination of what is settled as “public use”. Otherwise the protection of the rights of individuals with less resources than most will

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