Page:United States Reports, Volume 545.djvu/531

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480
KELO v. NEW LONDON

Opinion of the Court

when this Court began applying the Fifth Amendment to the States at the close of the 19th century, it embraced the broader and more natural interpretation of public use as “public purpose.” See, e. g., Fallbrook Irrigation Dist. v. Bradley, 164 U. S. 112, 158–164 (1896). Thus, in a case upholding a mining company’s use of an aerial bucket line to transport ore over property it did not own, Justice Holmes’ opinion for the Court stressed “the inadequacy of use by the general public as a universal test.” Strickley v. Highland Boy Gold Mining Co., 200 U. S. 527, 531 (1906).[1] We have repeatedly and consistently rejected that narrow test ever since.[2]

The disposition of this case therefore turns on the question whether the City’s development plan serves a “public purpose.” Without exception, our cases have defined that concept broadly, reflecting our longstanding policy of deference to legislative judgments in this field.

In Berman v. Parker, 348 U. S. 26 (1954), this Court upheld a redevelopment plan targeting a blighted area of Washington, D. C., in which most of the housing for the area’s 5,000 inhabitants was beyond repair. Under the plan, the area would be condemned and part of it utilized for the construction of streets, schools, and other public facilities. The remainder of the land would be leased or sold to private parties for the purpose of redevelopment, including the construction of low cost housing.


any individual or individuals.” Dayton Gold & Silver Mining Co., 11 Nev., at 409–410, 1876 WL, at *11.

  1. See also Clark v. Nash, 198 U. S. 361 (1905) (upholding a statute that authorized the owner of arid land to widen a ditch on his neighbor’s property so as to permit a nearby stream to irrigate his land).
  2. See, e. g., Mt. Vernon-Woodberry Cotton Duck Co. v. Alabama Interstate Power Co., 240 U. S. 30, 32 (1916) (“The inadequacy of use by the general public as a universal test is established”); Ruckelshaus v. Monsanto Co., 467 U. S. 986, 1014–1015 (1984) (“This Court, however, has rejected the notion that a use is a public use only if the property taken is put to use for the general public”).