Norwood v. Gamble
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Two Ohio residents were being forcibly evicted by Norwood City so that commercial developers could improve the land and generate more tax revenue.
Becket filed a friend-of-the-court brief to the Ohio Supreme Court urging that the Court reject the Kelo rule in interpreting the state takings clause. We argued that affirming the lower court’s bad decision would both declare open season on the taking of religious institutions of all faiths and functions (houses of worship, schools, hospitals and soup kitchens, to name just a few). Since religious institutions do not pay taxes, they are especially vulnerable to Kelo-style land grabs. Allowing this taking to go forward would turn the Ohio Constitution’s prohibition against takings for private use on its head.
The Ohio Supreme Court agreed that economic motives alone cannot justify taking private property from its owners, and that cities must demonstrate they have a genuine public use for the land. This decision protects religious institutions throughout Ohio. Institute for Justice was counsel in this case.