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395.Berman.v.Parker - Berman et al Executors v Parker et al...

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Berman et al., Executors, v. Parker et al. Supreme Court of the United States 348 U.S. 26; 75 S. Ct. 98; 99 L. Ed. 27 October 19, 1954, Argued November 22, 1954, Decided PRIOR HISTORY: Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. DISPOSITION: 117 F.Supp. 705, modified and affirmed. COUNSEL: James C. Toomey and Joseph H. Schneider argued the cause for appellants. With them on the brief was Albert Ginsberg. Solicitor General Sobeloff argued the cause for appellees. Assistant Attorney General Morton, Oscar H. Davis, Roger P. Marquis, George F. Riseling and William S. Cheatham were with him on a brief for the District of Columbia Redevelopment Land Agency and the National Capital Planning Commission, appellees. JUDGES: Warren, Black, Reed, Frankfurter, Douglas, Burton, Clark, Minton, Harlan OPINION BY: Justice Douglas OPINION [1] This is an appeal (28 U. S. C. § 1253) from the judgment of a three-judge District Court which dismissed a complaint seeking to enjoin the condemnation of appellants' property under the District of Columbia Redevelopment Act of 1945, 60 Stat. 790, D. C. Code, 1951, §§ 5-701 -- 5-719. The challenge was to the constitutionality of the Act, particularly as applied to the taking of appellants' property. The District Court sustained the constitutionality of the Act. 117 F.Supp. 705. [2] By § 2 of the Act, Congress made a "legislative determination" that "owing to technological and sociological changes, obsolete lay-out, and other factors, conditions existing in the District of Columbia with respect to substandard housing and blighted areas, including the use of buildings in alleys as dwellings for human habitation, are injurious to the public health, safety, morals, and welfare; and it is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States to protect and promote the welfare of the inhabitants of the seat of the Government by eliminating all such injurious conditions by employing all means necessary and appropriate for the purpose." [Footnote *: The Act does not define either "slums" or "blighted areas." Section 3 (r), however, states: 1
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" 'Substandard housing conditions' means the conditions obtaining in connection with the existence of any dwelling, or dwellings, or housing accommodations for human beings, which because of lack of sanitary facilities, ventilation, or light, or because of dilapidation, overcrowding, faulty interior arrangement, or any combination of these factors, is in the opinion of the Commissioners detrimental to the safety, health, morals, or welfare of the inhabitants of the District of Columbia."] [3] Section 2 goes on to declare that acquisition of property is necessary to eliminate these housing conditions. [4] Congress further finds in § 2 that these ends cannot be attained "by the ordinary operations of private enterprise alone without public participation"; that "the sound replanning and redevelopment of an obsolescent or obsolescing portion" of the District "cannot be accomplished unless it be done in the light of comprehensive and coordinated planning of the whole of the territory of the District of Columbia and its
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395.Berman.v.Parker - Berman et al Executors v Parker et al...

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