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Berman v. Parker
United States Supreme Court
348 U.S. 26 (1954)
The District of Columbia enacted an urban-renewal plan in 1945 that allowed seizure of title to about 15 city blocks within slums or blighted areas. Title to the property transferred to private developers provided at least one-third of new housing would be low-rent. Two owners (appellants) of a department and a hardware store seized by the government brought consolidated lawsuits challenging the renewal plan as unconstitutional because (1) it authorized by eminent domain taking title to private property and its sale or lease to other private persons for private (instead of public) uses, and (2) it allowed the taking of property in “blighted areas” without sufficiently defining that term to delegate power. The owners also argued that the plan was unconstitutional in application to their particular properties and should be strictly construed to not apply to either commercial properties or any property where no slum existed. The trial court found the renewal plan constitutional, and the owners appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Douglas, J.)
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