Article Title

The Problem with Pretext


pretext, Supreme Court, Fifth Amendment, property, public use, standard of review, eminent domain, taking


This Article examines the problems with the Supreme Court's holding in Kelo v. City of New London that the concept of public use is expansive unless the government is asserting the public use as a "mere pretext" and the true purpose is private benefit. The author examines the level of scrutiny applied in such cases, the link between pretext and motive, and the tests applied to evaluate pretext challenges: the burden-shifting motives test, the sufficiency of the plan taste, and the benefits to the public test. The author concludes that pretext is an "unworkable mechanism" for evaluating public use cases.



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