To access this feature, please Log In or Register for your Casebriefs Account.

Add to Library




Kelo v. City of New London

Citation. 545 U.S. 469, 125 S. Ct. 2655, 162 L. Ed. 2d 439, 60 ERC 1769 (2005)
Law Students: Don’t know your Studybuddy Pro login? Register here

Brief Fact Summary.

The City had a development plan that is suppose to create 1,000 new jobs, increase tax and other revenues, and to revitalize an economically distressed city. The plan stated it would purchase property from willing sellers and use eminent domain to take the land from unwilling sellers.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A taking for a carefully considered development plan is a public use of the property and thus a proper taking under the Taking Clause of the Federal Constitution.


The City of New London has had decades of economic decline and was designated a distressed municipality. Due to a federal naval center closing the area lost over 1,500.00 jobs. The unemployment rate was close to double the national average and population was at its lowest since the 20’s. Due to this, state and local officials picked New London for economic revitalization. The New London Development Corporation (NLDC) was reactivated to develop a plan to help the area with the help of $5.35 million dollars from state assistance. NLDC began having town meetings to educate the residents about the process. The city counsel approved the proposed plan in January of 2000. NLDC negotiated for the property of most of the real-estate in a 90 acre area that was part of the plan. NLDC was successful except against the Kelos’. Ms. Kelo has made extensive improvements to her house since moving in 1997 and loves the great view of the water. Another petitioner that refuses to sell is the Derys’. Mr. and Mrs. Dery have lived in that house for over 60 years. Mrs. Dery has lived there since she was born in 1918. The remaining properties are owned by families or are businesses. These houses were not picked because of there poor condition but rather merely for location purposes.


Whether the city’s new development plan qualifies as a public use within the meaning of the Taking Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.


YES. The Court does acknowledge the hardship the petitioners will go through from being forced to sell their home; however, there is a history of case law that supports a state has the right to take land for such uses as prescribed here. As long as there is just compensation this is fair. This court will broadly interpret the meaning of public use as it has been historically applied. When an area is planned as a whole to benefit an area faces economic hardship such plans will be upheld.  When a city creates a plan for economic rejuvenation that city is entitled the Court’s deference. This plan will create new jobs; raise tax revenues; bringing in new commercial properties; new recreational uses of the land; and new residential housing. Also this City enacted a statute authorizing such taking for the program. This plan unquestionably serves a public purpose so the taking challenge has been satisfied. Also public use of property in an economic redevelopment usually does give benefit to certain private party that does not invalidate its public use.  This court will not adopt a narrower bright-line rule in regards to public use.



 This rule state that all private property is vulnerable to any economic development plan. The properties that the City wants to take are not blighted properties or constitute any public harm. The Taking clause only allows the government to either take back property it owns or the public has a legal right to it. Here this taking is stated for a public purpose, which are not the rights given under the Taking clause.


States are allowed to restrict the public use doctrine and some states do have more protections for its citizens then is allowed under the Federal Constitution. The issue here is to be decided by the legislature of the city of New London not this court.

Create New Group

Casebriefs is concerned with your security, please complete the following