The judges listening to the case pitting Kelo and allies versus the City of New London came up with a decision that it was right for the local government to take up public land and use it for development i.e. to take up the land as long as it was to be used for the public interest. It seemed that the case presented by Kelo and allies was lawful and strong while the justification tabled by the city of New London seemed weak, but by the end of the day, they carried the day on a 5 to 4 ruling.
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The repercussion of the court’s decision
The case set up bad precedence in the sense that if in future the court were to refer to this case, then the government would confiscate private property under the guise of wanting to use it for public and economic use. This would be in contravention of the constitution, which gives everyone the right to own property. In addition to this, it does not make any economic sense to take property from one private owner and giving it to another private owner. However, the Supreme Court came up with a verdict that gave the local government authority to take up a private property by giving the private developers additional compensation.
The dissenting opinion by Sandra Day O’Conner is one of the most striking features of this case. She argued that the stance taken by the local government does not work in the best interest of the people and economic development, and she completely refused to accept their side of the story. She argued that it would only help the most influential people in society and big corporations at the expense of local people.
This dissenting opinion by Sandra Day O’Conner was informed by the fact that when the local government fails to get financiers to develop the property, then the development plan would be abandoned. Sandra Day O’Conner’s sees it as a bad norm to be practiced in a civilized world where there is a right to own property, that is, it shows, to a great extent, the immaturity of the government and its insensitivity to its citizens. The case led to judicial activism led by Sandra.
“This case has charged the adverse impact on the judges about government policies. At the same time, this instance has made the politicians unworthy and suspicious of the American political system. Therefore, this case has great relevance to the charge of the adverse impact caused by activist judges on the American political system (Orlando 2009)”.
The case leads us to the question; up to what extent should question of this magnitude be decided by the court? A court is used as a last resort and should be used to resolve issues according to law. Even though the above case has a lot of political undertones, the court ought to have been very impartial in its decision.
Sandra’s views on liberal views, gender, and affirmative action have been a source of controversies and judicial activism. Together with other dissenting judges, they were guided by the need for justice of citizens. This is by approaching the issue of jurisprudence with a pragmatic approach. The controversy surrounding the case was not about dissensions or compensation for the local citizen, but it was about the basic personal choice. Therefore, it should be on a mutual understanding between the parties but not through coercion or imposing on the others your will.
Orlando, Trisha. “Basics of constitutional protection.” 2009. Web.