Kelo v. City of New London, Connecticut
Kelo v. City of New London, Connecticut was a Supreme Court case in which the plaintiff wanted to bar the defendant from forcefully claiming her land for “public use”. Before the Supreme Court heard the case, the parties involved had already taken it to a tribunal in Connecticut and the state’s Supreme Court. Certiorari refers to a writ that higher courts normally issue, ordering lower courts to present their ruling in a particular case for review. In Kelo v. City of New London, the Supreme Court was trying to establish whether the council’s decision to forcefully claim the plaintiff’s property voided the constitutional restrictions on public use. The court granted certiorari so that it could consider what constitutes “public use”. Through the writ, the court was able to review the proceedings in Hawaii Housing Authority v. Midkiff and Berman v. Parker, both of which involved the same issue.
In its final ruling, the court ruled in favor of the defendant with five judges concurring with the decision of the Supreme Court of Connecticut as four provided dissenting opinions. The court held that the city’s decision to claim the property of the petitioner under the guise of public use was justified. The main question in the case had been whether “public use”, as explained by the City of New London, amounted to “public purpose”. The petitioner was challenging the city’s decision to claim the property on the basis that the council was going to hand it over to a private entity. In its majority opinion, the court decided that the use of the property was going to benefit the public as a whole by increasing the revenue of the City of New London and attracting a wealthier population into the region. As such the court decide that the “public use” amounted to “public purpose”