Eminent Domain or Domination?

  • January 23, 2000
  • • Written by: Douglas Timmons Lara Womack

Winter 1999/2000, Vol 24, No 4

Abstract: Under the power of eminent domain, a government can acquire, with just compensation, private property for a “public use.” Recently, governments have stretched the public use doctrine in ways that seem to trample private property rights. To the dismay of property rights groups across the country, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that “public use” is anything government says it is. The state courts are generally following suit by allowing agencies to take private property for uses that would have once been unfathomable. Communities intent on creating jobs and increasing tax revenues are using condemnation to take private property from one business to be given to another more attractive business. When and where does “public use” stop? This manuscript discusses the ever broadening use of eminent domain.