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June 24, 2005
AG McKenna’s statement on use of eminent domain for private purposes

OLYMPIA -- Attorney General Rob McKenna today issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. New London, Connecticut, in which the Court held that taking for "economic rejuvenation" satisfies the “public benefit” requirement in the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause in the U.S. Constitution.

“The Washington State Constitution prohibits the use of the power of eminent domain to condemn private property for private use and reserves to the judiciary the role in determining what constitutes a public use.

The Washington Supreme Court has defined the “public benefit” limitation more narrowly than the definition used by the U.S. Supreme Court in the recently announced Kelo decision. Accordingly, the condemnation of private property for the type of development at issue in the Kelo case would likely be evaluated as a matter of state constitutional law under standards that are potentially more protective of private property rights than those used by the U.S. Supreme Court today."


For more information contact:
Janelle Guthrie, AG Media Relations Director, (360) 586-0725

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