[JURIST] The US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Thursday in Kelo v. New London [Duke Law backgrounder] that a local government authority can expropriate private property – land, homes and businesses – for private redevelopment that confers economic benefits on the community such as more jobs and tax revenue so long as it is not just a private use of the property for private benefit. The City of New London Connecticut had authorized expropriation of properties to accommodate a development plan for its Fort Trumbull area which included condominiums, hotels, and a conference center, as well as a new Pfizer pharmaceutical plant. Homeowners had objected, insisting that legal expropriation for public use under the Fifth Amendment was limited to clear public purposes such as roads, school, or renewal of urban blight. Read the opinion [via Cornell LII]. AP has more.
In other rulings Thursday…
- the Court held 6-3 in Halbert v. Michigan [Duke Law backgrounder] that a Michigan state statute that refused counsel to indigent defendants pleading guilty to a crime but later seeking leave to appeal is unconstitutional. Read the opinion [via Cornell LII].
- in Mayle v. Felix [Duke Law backgrounder], the Court upheld the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and ruled 7-2 that an amended habeas petition that makes a new claim on different facts is still subject to a one-year filing deadline. Read the opinion [via Cornell LII].
- in Orff v. U.S [Duke Law backgrounder], a unanimous Court, again upholding the Ninth Circuit, held that the doctrine of soverign immunity rendered the US government immune from a suit by farmers who claimed that the US Bureau of Reclamation had breached a contract to deliver water to their district. Read the opinion [via Cornell LII].
- in the consolidated cases of Exxon Corp. v. Allapattah Services and Ortega v. Star-Kist Foods [Duke Law backgrounder] a sharply divided court ruled 5-4 that a rule requiring a federal court claim to be worth $75,000 is satisfied where one party has that much at stake, even when other parties to a claim fo not. Read the opinion [via Cornell LII].
- in the habeas procedure case of Gonzalez v. Crosby [Duke Law backgrounder], the Court ruled 7-2 that a seeking to challenge a District Court ruling on the statute of limitations for filing habeas petitions can be decided by a District Court without a Circuit Court's permission. Read the opinion [via Cornell LII].
The Ten Commandments cases, which some observers expected to be handed down Thursday, were not decided, leaving them to be announced next week before the end of the current Court term. Five other cases remain to be disposed of.