DuPage County Judge Hollis Webster ordered that the title of the 5.3-acre St. Johannes Cemetery in Addison Township be transferred from St. John's United Church of Christ to the city. She also ordered that Chicago pay the church $630,000 for the land, which stands between two segments of a new runway already under construction.
At the heart of this dispute is a controversial ruling by this same judge to approve Chicago's use of eminent domain for the project.
Here's where it could get interesting for observers of eminent domain cases. First, the Supreme Court's Kelo decision of 2005 broadly expanded eminent domain powers (interestingly enough, Pfizer, the main beneficiary of that ruling, has abandoned the project after uprooting so many people's lives). In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that land could be claimed from one private by a government entity and turned over to another private entity.
Now, here we have a judge ruling that one town can take land of another. One can only imagine that this case is far from over.