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    This page contains Supreme Court rulings -- with summaries of the majority and minority conclusions.

05-KELO on Feb 22, 2005

Decided Jun 23, 2005
Case Ruling: Kelo v. City of New London
In one of the most controversial cases of the session, the Court rules, 5-4, in Kelo v. City of New London, that a government can take possession of private property against the owner's will and transfer it to private developers when the result will promote economic development.

HELD: Delivered by Stevens, joined by Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer

The Fifth Amendment allows the government to take private property for public use. The majority opinion says "public use" also means "public purpose." "Promoting economic development is a traditional and long accepted function of government," Stevens writes. "Clearly, there is no basis for exempting economic development from our traditionally broad understanding of public purpose."

CONCURRENCE: Concurrence by Kennedy

The concurring opinion sets out a program of civil discovery in the context of a challenge to an assertion of government purpose. However, Kennedy does not explicitly limit these criteria to eminent domain, suggesting that they may be generalized to all health and welfare regulation.

DISSENT: Dissent by O'Connor, joined by Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas

The dissenting opinion suggested that the use of this taking power in a reverse Robin Hood fashion--take from the poor, give to the rich-- would become the norm, not the exception: "Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms." She argued that the decision eliminates "any distinction between private and public use of property--and thereby [expands] the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment."


    Participating counts on VoteMatch question 8. Question 8: No 'rights' to clean air and water Scores: -2=Strongly oppose; -1=Oppose; 0=neutral; 1=Support; 2=Strongly support.
  • Topic: Environment
  • Headline: Eminent domain applies to public economic development (Score: -1)
  • Headline 2: Eminent domain applies to social & economic development (Score: -1)
  • Headline 3: Eminent domain should not take from poor to give to rich (Score: 1)

    Participating counts on AmericansElect question 8.
  • Headline: Eminent domain applies to public economic development (Answer: C)
  • Headline 2: Eminent domain applies to social & economic development (Answer: C)
  • Headline 3: Eminent domain should not take from poor to give to rich (Answer: B)
  • AmericansElect Quiz Question 8 on Environment: Which of the following statements comes closest to your personal view?
    • A: Natural resources exist for the benefit of humanity
    • B: Natural resources exist for the benefit of humanity, but should be somewhat protected
    • C: Natural resources should be mostly protected, but also exist for the benefit of humanity
    • D: Natural resources exist on their own and should be completely protected
    • E: Unsure


  • Key for participation codes:
  • Sponsorships: p=sponsored; o=co-sponsored; s=signed
  • Memberships: c=chair; m=member; e=endorsed; f=profiled; s=scored
  • Resolutions: i=introduced; w=wrote; a=adopted
  • Cases: w=wrote; j=joined; d=dissented; c=concurred
  • Surveys: '+' supports; '-' opposes.



Democrats participating in 05-KELO

Stephen Breyer j1US Democratic Appointee to Supreme Court 
Ruth Bader Ginsburg j1US Democratic Appointee to Supreme Court 



Republicans participating in 05-KELO

Anthony Kennedy w2cUS Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 
Sandra Day O`Connor w3dUS Republican Appointee to Supreme Court (retired 2005) 
William Rehnquist j3dUS Republican Appointee to Supreme Court (until 2005) 
Antonin Scalia j3dUS Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 
David Souter j1US Republican Appointee to Supreme Court (retired 2009) 
John Paul Stevens w1US Republican Appointee to Supreme Court (retired 2010) 
Clarence Thomas j3dUS Republican Appointee to Supreme Court 



Independents participating in 05-KELO



Total recorded by OnTheIssues:

Democrats: 2
Republicans: 7
Independents: 0


















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