The US Supreme Court denied a request to hear an appeal of a Chicago landowner whose property was condemned by the City to allow the expansion of the Bloomer Chocolate Company on June 25, 2021.
The property owner took issue with the high court’s 2005 Kelo v City of New London decision, which said that local governments have the ability to take away private property for economic development use. Three Justices, Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch said the Court should have heard the case, one shy of the four needed to take up the appeal. They said “if our doctrine makes it difficult to discern public use from private favors,” the Court should take the issue “to provide some much-needed clarity.”
In Kelo v City of New London, 545 US 469 (2005), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that New London could take privately owned properties for private development under its economic revitalization plan. Since the plan served a public purpose, it satisfied the U.S. Constitution’s public use requirement, which bans government from taking land for public use without just compensation. Relying on prior decisions, the Court interpreted public use as being the equivalent of “public purpose.”
The decision upheld the Connecticut Supreme Court’s 2004 Kelo decision (268 Conn. 1), which found that New London’s actions did not violate either the Connecticut or the United States constitutional bans against taking property for public use without just compensation. Thus, the Court made clear that economic development constitutes a public purpose.