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Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Sussette Kelo v. The City of New London, CN

Michael Mc Pherson
September 30, 2005
Economics 398-001: The Constitution and the Economy
September blog report: Susette Kelo v. the City of New London

Case number 04-108; Susette Kelo v. the City of New London .

Fort Trumbull, Connecticut is a small rural town in economic downfall and in order to prevent further economic regress the city of New London empowered The New London Development Corporation to plan a project in order to save the town, by developing the area in order to economically develop the area and generate jobs and tax revenue. The NLDC devised a plan to build a hotel/resort, 80-100 new suburban residences, and various strip-malls and commercial buildings in place of the town of Fort Trumbull. It purchased all but 15 properties in order to go ahead with the development. The remaining 15 properties were not willing to sell their properties to the NLDC, so the city of New London chose to exercise its right of eminent domain and ordered the development corporation to condemn the 15 holdout owners' lots on its behalf. Susette Kelo, and the owners of 15 properties in the city of New London, 11 of which were family residences and the other four properties were owned outright as investment properties then sued the city of New London in the Connecticut courts, arguing that the city had misused its eminent domain power which is limited by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. Mrs. Kelo and the other property owners argued that economic development did not qualify as public use. The decision, came in a 5 to 4 vote that the city of New London and the ND LC had not misused their power of eminent domain, and that their cities planned “economic development” did in fact qualify as a ‘public purpose’ of utilizing the property in a manner that would be more efficient for the city in tax revenue generation and therefore it could be considered a public use.

In the dissenting oppinion was most aptly but by justice O’Connor that the use of this power in a reverse take from the poor and give to the rich would become the norm, not the exception and that "any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms." She went on to argue that the decision eliminates "any distinction between private and public use of property — and thereby effectively deletes the words 'for public use' from the ‘Takings Clause’ of the Fifth Amendment".

This case has spurred many different reactions amongst citizens and the representatives of our government. Democrats and republicans alike disagree with the courts ruling in this case, and agree fully with the dissenting opinions of the Justice O’Connor. Congress has acted to correct this grave mistake in judgment by the Judicial branch of our government by adding to the ballad the “Protection of Homes, Small Businesses, and Private Property Act of 2005.” which restates the ‘taking clause of the fifth and fourteenth amendments and clarifies it to specify that the use of economic development did not promote the general welfare of the nation and therefore neither the federal, state or local governments cannot use their policing powers of eminent domain for that purpose.

This case is a definate veiw of the power of the supreme court overstepping their boundries and it demonstraites the need for an amndmant to the unite states constitution where termonology must be added to and written it giving the judicial branch its expressed powers and the definition of the terms voted in by the super majority of 2/3 from both houses and the ratified on the state level by people of 3/4 of the state. the expressed powers of the thre different branches are claerly and plainly stated in the constitution and its amendmants for congress and the president, but it has no documented expressed powers of the judicial branch and the role of the supreme court in our united states.

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