Berman v. Parker Case Brief

Facts of the Case

The District of Columbia Redevelopment Act was a legislative determination that certain areas within the District of Columbia were injurious to public health because of blight and substandard housing. Pursuant to the act, a project was undertaken to redevelop an entire area in the District of Columbia. The project called for acquiring all rights to land located in the area. Appellants owned certain property in the subject area with a department store located on it. Appellants objected to the appropriation of their property for purposes of the project to redevelop the subject area, as violative of the Fifth Amendment. The Court affirmed the constitutionally of the project, ruling against the appellants.


Did the provision of the statute for minority business enterprises violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?


“No. In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice William O. Douglas, the Court found that the Fifth Amendment does not limit Congress’ power to seize private property with just compensation to any specific purpose. The Court concluded that the power to determine what values to consider in seizing property for public welfare is Congress’ alone. “If those who govern the District of Columbia decide that the Nation’s Capital should be beautiful as well as sanitary, there is nothing in the Fifth Amendment that stands in the way.””

Case Information

Citation: 348 US 26 (1954)
Argued: Oct 19, 1954
Decided: Nov 22, 1954
Case Brief: 1954