Rule of Law

1. Read the KELO case. If you were empowered to make the decision on this case, how would you decide? Fully explain your decision based on law, reasoning, and policy.
KELO V CITY OF NEW LONDON USSC 2005 Facts. In 2000, the city of New London approved a commercial 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 commercial development plans included areas for private housing, restaurants, shops, etc. The city purchased the property and seeks to enforce eminent domain to acquire the remaining parcels from unwilling owners. The City did not plan to open the land to the general public except as would be normal for business operators. The property owners who did not want to sell their properties claim that this is not a valid use of eminent domain because it is not in the normal realm of “pubic use” (e.g. freeway expansion, etc).
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.
Rule of Law: 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.”
Majority rationale: We have long recognized the needs of society vary greatly between different parts of the Nation. Earlier cases embodied a strong theme of federalism, emphasizing the “great respect” owed to state legislatures and state courts in discerning local public needs. Public needs used to be according to rigid formulas and intrusive scrutiny in favor of affording legislatures broad latitude in determining what public needs justified the use of the takings power. The court must look to the entire Plan’s importance and the City’s overall interest in the economic benefits derived from the development.
Held. The city’s proposed disposition of petitioners’ property qualifies as a “public use” within the meaning of the Takings Clause. Public use in this case was broadly interpreted to mean “public purpose”.
Dissent. The three dissenting justices would have imposed a “heightened” standard of judicial review for takings justified for economic development.
2) Each member of the group will research and choose a quotation relating to the law. Share the quotations with your group and choose the best one. Write the quotation and the author here and briefly explain the reason for your choice

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