Eminent Domain Essay

1508 words - 6 pages

I Oi Carlol
Eric Di Carlo
Professor Kessler
Business Law
March 13,2014
Eminent Domain
A big controversy in America today is the power of the government to use eminent
domain to take away private property for public use. Under the power of the constitution it is
legal for the government to take property away from the people as long as they compensate you
with a fair price and use it for public use which will benefit the community. However, the
controversy of eminent domain lies within the definition of public use which is most notable in
the case of Kelo vs. City of New London. In this case, the government wanted two buildings
which included a hotel, shops, new houses, and a museum. The government believed by building
these buildings they would modernize and help the city of New London become a business
district. The only problem is that people were living there, and the government would have to
buyout 115 people's homes. However, 15 houses including Kelo's refused to sell out to the
government complaining that they were not creating buildings that would help with public use.
The main argument for the case was if the government was really using the land for public use or
misusing their power of eminent domain. The case was so highly debated that it went up all the
way to the Supreme Court of the United States.
In 2005, five years since the government began using their power of eminent domain, the
Supreme finally made their landmark decision by agreeing with the city of New London. Before
the case went to the Supreme Court, it was first held at the Connecticut Supreme Court. At the

Di Carlo2
Connecticut Supreme Court, the states voted 4-3 in favor of the city of New London. When the
case reached the Supreme Court in 2005, the judges had to look at the taking clause of the Fifth
Amendment which focuses on the details of eminent domain. The Supreme Court had to make a
decision on whether that in the taking clause was the government taking the land for public use.
The Supreme Court finally after studying the case, decided in a 5-4 vote agreeing that the city of
New London was using the land for public use.
The five Supreme Court voters who approved the city of New London to take back the
land agreed with that fact the city was following the taking clause by using the land for public
use. This ruling was led by Justice John Paul Stevens and the others who voted with him were
Judges Kennedy, Souter, Breyer, and Ginsburg. These justices look at the constitution as a living
document since they interpreted it as more of a broad definition for public use. The city of New
London was right to take that land according to the justices because they said that land was being
used for public use. Public use was being used because by building these building the ci,tywould
be getting more jobs and increase taxes to improve the city. These taxes could be used to
improve the public good by using the taxes for important things like education and helping the...

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