Today, in Kelo v. City of New London, the U.S. Supreme
Court ruled that New London's "carefully considered"
decision to use eminent domain to promote economic development
"unquestionably serves a public purpose" and thus
satisfies the public-use requirement set forth in the Just
Compensation Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
The ruling means that states and cities retain a critically
important economic development tool. Economic development
means more jobs for local residents, more tax dollars for
city services like police protection and child welfare, and
the promise of new hope and opportunity in distressed areas.
Although considerable attention has been paid to the landowners
in the case, the plight of the unemployed in New London also
must be taken into account. Decreasing unemployment also reduces
the social ills that go with it, including spousal abuse,
alcoholism, crime, and suicide.
Timothy J. Dowling, Chief Counsel of Community Rights Counsel,
hailed the ruling:
"Today's ruling gives hope to economically depressed
communities across the country struggling to put a paycheck
into the hands of the unemployed and to enhance vital public
services for those most in need."
Community Rights Counsel co-authored an amicus brief in Kelo
supporting New London on behalf of a large coalition of state
and local officials.