Remember Kelo v. New London?


Diamond Member
Feb 19, 2008
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your dreams
And where are they today...

Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005) was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States involving the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another to further economic development. The case arose from the condemnation by New London, Connecticut, of privately owned real property so that it could be used as part of a comprehensive redevelopment plan which promised 3,169 new jobs and $1.2 million a year in tax revenues. The Court held in a 5–4 decision that the general benefits a community enjoyed from economic growth qualified such redevelopment plans as a permissible "public use" under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

The city eventually agreed to move Susette Kelo's house to a new location and to pay substantial additional compensation to other homeowners. The redeveloper was unable to obtain financing and abandoned the redevelopment project, leaving the land as an empty lot, which was eventually turned into a dump by the city.

Kelo v. City of New London - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry.


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Apr 28, 2011
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In a Republic, actually
USSC totally screwed the pooch on that travesty of a ruling.
Kelo is among the more misunderstood of recent Court cases. The actual meaning of the ruling was lost as both liberals and conservatives contrived their own meanings to serve their respective political agendas.

The case had nothing to do with the ‘little people’ at odds with ‘evil corporate monsters.’ At issue only was the definition of ‘public use,’ and if the City’s development plan met the public use requirement. Indeed, Ms. Kelo was requesting the Court make her case an exception to the established definition:

…this is not a case in which the City is planning to open the condemned land--at least not in its entirety--to use by the general public. Nor will the private lessees of the land in any sense be required to operate like common carriers, making their services available to all comers. But although such a projected use would be sufficient to satisfy the public use requirement, this "Court long ago rejected any literal requirement that condemned property be put into use for the general public." Id., at 244. Indeed, while many state courts in the mid-19th century endorsed "use by the public" as the proper definition of public use, that narrow view steadily eroded over time. Not only was the "use by the public" test difficult to administer (e.g., what proportion of the public need have access to the property? at what price?),7 but it proved to be impractical given the diverse and always evolving needs of society.8 Accordingly, when this Court began applying the Fifth Amendment to the States at the close of the 19th century, it embraced the broader and more natural interpretation of public use as "public purpose." See, e.g., Fallbrook Irrigation Dist. v. Bradley, 164 U. S. 112, 158-164 (1896). Thus, in a case upholding a mining company's use of an aerial bucket line to transport ore over property it did not own, Justice Holmes' opinion for the Court stressed "the inadequacy of use by the general public as a universal test." Strickley v. Highland Boy Gold Mining Co., 200 U. S. 527, 531 (1906).9 We have repeatedly and consistently rejected that narrow test ever since.
The majority, therefore, merely followed the precedent established in Fallbrook and rejected the petitioners’ argument for a literal requirement. The petitioners could just as well have been a multi-billion dollar, multi-national corporation subject to the same eminent domain taking.


The disposition of this case therefore turns on the question whether the City's development plan serves a "public purpose." Without exception, our cases have defined that concept broadly, reflecting our longstanding policy of deference to legislative judgments in this field

So again, the Court acknowledges precedent and accedes to the local jurisdiction’s definition of a public purpose.

With regard to opposition from the right, the irony being the ruling is a victory for local jurisdictions (as opposed to mandates from the Federal level), illustrates the Court’s respect for the legislative process (as opposed to ‘legislating from the bench’), and acknowledges the free market is a better model for economic development (as opposed to government policy).
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Sep 12, 2008
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Why am I not surprised that the precedent for a really dumb ruling was an opinion by Justice Holmes?

Even back in the Fallbrooke case the justification was lame and contrary to justice.


Unobtanium Member
Jan 3, 2009
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Drinking wine, eating cheese, catching rays
Statist bullshit remains statist bullshit.

The home owners in the Kelo case owned their homes.

The city of New London moved in on them, under the pretext that they'd make more tax revenue off of the land than they were getting from residential property taxes.

It was a classic example of the big guy trampling the just property rights of the little guy, over the bigger payoff.

But as long as the big guy is Big Brother, it's all good. :rolleyes:

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