Kelo v City of New London

By: Andrew Ruiz

Facts of the Case

The city of New London, CT seized private property of others to sell the land to private developers. They believed the land would create jobs and increase tax revenue. The owners of the land sued the city in state court on the basis the city infringed on their 5th amendment rights by not providing just compensation for the lands taken and for not using the land for public use.

Question Posed

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?

Precedent Established

The 5th amendment does not require “literal” public use and “public purpose” is a justification for taking private lands.

Historic Significance

The city was able to take the private lands and sell them to private developers in order to rejuvenate its economy. It is considered a landmark, because it broadened the use of eminent domain to include lands taken for public purpose.

Significance Today

This case has modern relevance because there are plenty of individuals who own private properties that are not being used, but are in great locations. For example, there is a large plot of land in Allen, TX just off of Stacy road located right across from the Allen Outlets. The city is currently booming, so it may want to take that land (in prime location) to develop more event centers, shops, and restaurants that will generate more revenue for the city.

Future Significance

In the eyes of the court of the future, this policy will most likely gain more support as there becomes less and less land, but more and more people. For example, the city of Frisco has been non-stop developing its lands to create more neighborhoods, schools, and business buildings, and, as a result, will most likely run out of available lands in the future. The city could then take the lands belonging to the Brinkmann Ranch, the largest amount of private property owned in Frisco.