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Lawsuit doesn’t derail eminent domain

Law of the Land

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After the District of Columbia Council found that the Skyland Shopping Center was an eyesore in disrepair that contributed to crime and traffic blight in the surrounding neighborhood, it authorized the National Capital Revitalization Corp., a Washington, D.C., agency, to buy or obtain the properties comprising the center through eminent domain so that it could be redeveloped. Seventeen owners, tenants and employees of businesses located in the center filed suit to stop the eminent domain process (Rumber, et al. v. District of Columbia, et al.), arguing that the district's proposal was designed to benefit the intended developer of the center rather than the public -- which, they argued, rendered the taking a violation of the Fifth Amendment. The group that brought the lawsuit asked the district court to enjoin the district from proceeding with the condemnation. After the district court denied their request for an injunction, the district began eminent domain proceedings -- a...