Ann Arbor Area Community News
The United States Supreme Court today ruled in favor of the City of New London, CT’s power to use eminent domain to take (with just compensation) private property from one owner in order to clear the way for private redevelopment. The majority opinion was written by Justice Stevens, with “stinging” dissent by O’Conner, Scalia, Rehnquist, and Thomas.
The key distinction in the case was whether a local government’s power of eminent domain could be used to acquire land for a public purpose that was not a public use – with “slum” clearance or “economic development” often used as “public purposes” that involve delivering land to private developers; taking property for a “public use”, such as a street, school, police station or other publicly held building, is not questioned.
This ruling is the opposite of one made last summer by the Michigan Supreme Court last summer in County of Wayne v. Hathcock, in which that court declared only public uses to be valid results of eminent domain actions, overturning and criticizing its own 1981 Poletown ruling.
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