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Unformatted text preview: Cite as: 545 U. S. ____ (2005) 1 O&CONNOR, J., dissenting SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES _________________ No. 04108 _________________ SUSETTE KELO, ET AL., PETITIONERS v. CITY OF NEW LONDON, CONNECTICUT, ET AL. ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF CONNECTICUT [June 23, 2005] JUSTICE O&CONNOR, with whom THE CHIEF JUSTICE, JUSTICE SCALIA, and JUSTICE THOMAS join, dissenting. Over two centuries ago, just after the Bill of Rights was ratified, Justice Chase wrote: An ACT of the Legislature (for I cannot call it a law) contrary to the great first principles of the social com- pact, cannot be considered a rightful exercise of legis- lative authority . . . . A few instances will suffice to explain what I mean. . . . [A] law that takes property from A. and gives it to B: It is against all reason and justice, for a people to entrust a Legislature with SUCH powers; and, therefore, it cannot be presumed that they have done it. Calder v. Bull , 3 Dall. 386, 388 (1798) (emphasis deleted). Today the Court abandons this long-held, basic limitation on government power. Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded i.e. , given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more bene- ficial to the publicin the process. To reason, as the Court does, that the incidental public benefits resulting from the subsequent ordinary use of private property render economic development takings for public use is to 2 KELO v. NEW LONDON O&CONNOR, J., dissenting wash out any distinction between private and public use of propertyand thereby effectively to delete the words for public use from the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amend- ment. Accordingly I respectfully dissent. I Petitioners are nine resident or investment owners of 15 homes in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood of New London, Connecticut. Petitioner Wilhelmina Dery, for example, lives in a house on Walbach Street that has been in her family for over 100 years. She was born in the house in 1918; her husband, petitioner Charles Dery, moved into the house when they married in 1946. Their son lives next door with his family in the house he received as a wedding gift, and joins his parents in this suit. Two petitioners keep rental properties in the neighborhood. In February 1998, Pfizer Inc., the pharmaceuticals manufacturer, announced that it would build a global research facility near the Fort Trumbull neighborhood. Two months later, New London&s city council gave initial approval for the New London Development Corporation (NLDC) to prepare the development plan at issue here....
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