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Kelo v. City of New London

Law Dictionary
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Property Law Keyed to Dukeminier

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 545 U.S. 469, 125 S. Ct. 2655, 162 L. Ed. 2d 439, 60 ERC 1769 (2005)

Brief Fact Summary. In 2000, the city of New London approved a development plan that, in the words of the Supreme Court of Connecticut, was “projected 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.”  The city purchased property and seeks to enforce eminent domain to acquire the remaining parcels from unwilling owners.


Synopsis of Rule of Law. The court had previously held in the Midkiff case that such economic development qualified as a valid public use under both the Federal and State Constitutions.  The court has to meet two burdens for eminent domain- (1) that the takings of the particular properties at issue were “reasonably necessary” to achieve the City’s intended public use and (2) that the takings were for “reasonably foreseeable needs.” 


Facts. In 2000, the city of New London approved a development plan that, in the words of the Supreme Court of Connecticut, was “projected 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.”  The city purchased property and seeks to enforce eminent domain to acquire the remaining parcels from unwilling owners.  The City did not plan to open the condemned land to the general public, nor were the private lessees of the land required to operate like common carriers. 


Issue. Whether the city’s proposed disposition of this property qualifies as a “public use” within the meaning of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.


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