What Is Public Use?

The United States Supreme Court is back in session, and the justices have decided to take some important cases this term. One such case involves the city of New London Connecticut and the residents of Fort Trumbull. Susette Kelo has filed a suit against the city after New London decided to clear her home—and several others' homes—in order to build commercial buildings. The city states that the tax revenue these businesses will generate will benefit private citizens, but the Fort Trumbull residents say that the taking violates their Fifth Amendment rights because the land will not be for "public use."

Note: This lesson was originally published in 2004 when the Kelo v. City of New London case was in progress, but may be adapted as a resource for current lessons on eminent domain.

Lesson provided courtesy of The Bill of Rights Institute.

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