Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


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Jamie Sheller
Jamie Sheller
Attorney • (800) 883-2299

Pennsylvania Ruling Against Eminent Domain

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In In re 1839 North Eighth Street, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court reversed a lower court and ruled that private property marked as blighted could not be taken by the Redevelopment Authority of Philadelphia and given to a private religious organization.

According to the Court, “nothing in the Constitution authorizes a taking of private property for a private use.” The Court added that this particular taking was an entanglement of church and state. The trial court made an error in determining that the owner of the private property waived her challenge to the taking by not challenging the certification of blight. Also, the trial court was in error when finding that the property could be taken simply because it was determined blighted. The majority opinion of the appellate court was partly based on a 1971 ruling, in which it held that “a redevelopment authority does not have power to acquire one man’s land by condemnation to satisfy another man’s need.”