BARRON v. MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF BALTIMORE
John Barron was co-owner of a profitable wharf in the harbor of Baltimore. As the city developed and expanded, large amounts of sand accumulated in the harbor, depriving Barron of the deep waters which had been the key to his successful business. He sued the city to recover a portion of his financial losses.
Does the Fifth Amendment deny the states as well as the national government the right to take private property for public use without justly compensating the property's owner?
Legal provision: US Const Amend 5
No. The Court announced its decision in this case without even hearing the arguments of the City of Baltimore. Writing for the unanimous Court, Chief Justice Marshall found that the limitations on government articulated in the Fifth Amendment were specifically intended to limit the powers of the national government. Citing the intent of the framers and the development of the Bill of Rights as an exclusive check on the government in Washington D.C., Marshall argued that the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction in this case since the Fifth Amendment was not applicable to the states.