CHICAGO (CN) – The City of Chicago and the Federal Aviation Administration have received clearance from the Seventh Circuit to condemn two cemeteries to build runways for O’Hare International Airport’s “modernization program.”
John’s United Church of Christ and the Rest Haven Cemetery Association tried to block the move, claiming their cemeteries were on church property, and any effort to take them would be unconstitutional and sacrilegious. The circuit consolidated the appeals, which also named as plaintiffs the Villages of Bensenville and Elk Grove, where the city plans to condemn 433 acres for the runway expansion. Ruling on the consolidated appeals, the circuit dismissed Rest Haven’s claims as moot, found that the city did not discriminate in condemning St. John’s Cemetery and had compelling interest of updating one of the world’s busiest airports. In dissent, Judge Ripple expressed doubt that the expansion plan is narrowly tailored to meet that interest. See ruling in St. John’s United Church of Christ v. Chicago.