Berman et al., Executors,
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
Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of
117 F.Supp. 705, modified and affirmed.
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.
Warren, Black, Reed, Frankfurter, Douglas, Burton, Clark, Minton, Harlan
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.
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: