Page:United States Reports, Volume 545.djvu/537

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Opinion of the Court

Berman objected to “taking from one businessman for the benefit of another businessman,” 348 U. S., at 33, referring to the fact that under the redevelopment plan land would be leased or sold to private developers for redevelopment.[1] Our rejection of that contention has particular relevance to the instant case: “The public end may be as well or better served through an agency of private enterprise than through a department of government—or so the Congress might conclude. We cannot say that public ownership is the sole method of promoting the public purposes of community redevelopment projects.” Id., at 33–34.[2]

It is further argued that without a bright-line rule nothing would stop a city from transferring citizen A’s property to

purpose). It is worth noting that in Hawaii Housing Authority v. Midkiff, 467 U. S. 229 (1984), Monsanto, and Boston & Maine Corp., the property in question retained the same use even after the change of ownership.

  1. Notably, as in the instant case, the private developers in Berman were required by contract to use the property to carry out the redevelopment plan. See 348 U. S., at 30.
  2. Nor do our cases support Justice O’Connor’s novel theory that the government may only take property and transfer it to private parties when the initial taking eliminates some “harmful property use.” Post, at 501 (dissenting opinion). There was nothing “harmful” about the non-blighted department store at issue in Berman, 348 U. S. 26; see also n. 13, supra; nothing “harmful” about the lands at issue in the mining and agriculture cases, see, e. g., Strickley, 200 U. S. 527; see also nn. 9, 11, supra; and certainly nothing “harmful” about the trade secrets owned by the pesticide manufacturers in Monsanto, 467 U. S. 986. In each case, the public purpose we upheld depended on a private party’s future use of the concededly nonharmful property that was taken. By focusing on a property’s future use, as opposed to its past use, our cases are faithful to the text of the Takings Clause. See U. S. Const., Amdt. 5 (“[N]or shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation”). Justice O’Connor’s intimation that a “public purpose” may not be achieved by the action of private parties, see post, at 500–501, confuses the purpose of a taking with its mechanics, a mistake we warned of in Midkiff, 467 U. S., at 244. See also Berman, 348 U. S., at 33–34 (“The public end may be as well or better served through an agency of private enterprise than through a department of government”).