Lancaster, California, located about 45 miles from Los Angeles, was trying to build its local economy but was tripped up by the U.S. Constitution. Costco, a big-box retailer, wanted to expand into next-door space leased to 99 Cents Only Stores. Costco told the city it would move to Palmdale if it could not expand. Lancaster tried to buy 99 Cents’ lease, but the company refused. Lancaster then used its power of eminent domain to condemn the 99 Cents property for the purpose of making it available to Costco. The city noted that blight might follow if Costco left, and the city contrasted 99 Cents’ under $40,000 per year in sales taxes generated with Costco’s more than $400,000. 99 Cents then sued the city seeking an order blocking the effort to take the 99 Cents property.
a. How would you have ruled on the case when it was tried in 2001? Explain.
b. Would the result be any different today after the Supreme Court’s 2005 decision in the Kelo (New London, Connecticut) case? Explain.