The 5th Amendment of the US Constitution allows private property to be taken for public use as long as just compensation is paid to the owner. This right to take private property has been incredibly important in the development of infrastructure. Imagine trying to build a highway if private property owners could refuse to sell their land to the government. Building a highway, or a school, a park, etc. is clearly “public use” but there are other projects that might potentially benefit the public that are not necessarily a “public use.” In Kelo v. City of New London, the US Supreme Court upheld the right of the City of New London to use the power of eminent domain to take property from private home owners and give it to privatecompanies for economic redevelopment. Local homeowners sued the city to stop them from taking their homes. The case was heard by a trial court and an appeals court before it was finally decided by the US Supreme Court. Please read the following article about both the events prior to and the events after the Kelo case.
As the article mentions, in response to the Kelo decision, many states adopted laws that prevent cities from using eminent domain to take private property for economic redevelopment. With the Kelso case in mind, consider the redevelopment challenges facing the City of Detroit as well as other communities where the quality of living could be affected by blight or by the absence of a robust tax base. Do you agree with the Kelo decision or the states that changed their laws? Would your opinion be different if the City of New London redevelopment had been successful, creating jobs and expanding the tax base in a way that benefited residents? Please share your thoughts about the issues raised by this case, as well as commenting on at least two other posts.