The Evolution and Consequences of Kelo v. City of New London

  • December 6, 2011
  • • Written by: Jeffrey D. Eicher, J.D. C. Frank Shepard, Jr., J.D. Jerry D. Belloit, PH.D.

Winter 2011/2012, Vol. 36, No. 3

Abstract: In the now infamous case of Kelo v City of New London, 125 S. Ct. 2655; 162 L. Ed. 2d 439 (2005), the United States Supreme Court ruled on a major eminent domain case that substantially broadened the power of the government to take private property. Prior to this case, federal, state and local governments were constrained to take only property the government would use for public use, such as a road or a park. With this decision, state and local governments are now allowed to take private property from one person and give it to another, so long as their planned use for the property is considered and does not name a specific person or group to be benefited thereby. This article discusses how this “unfortunate” result essentially returns us to the state of law existing in the nineteenth century.