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Eminent Domain/Takings

Eminent domain refers to the legal power of a government or a private entity to which government has delegated this power to forcibly take private property from its owners. Under American law, the government's power to seize property is limited, most notably by the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions. The Takings Clause of the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads, “nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.”

In the case of Boom Co. v. Patterson, the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1879, decided that eminent domain is an inherent power of government, “an attribute of sovereignty.” However, this power was rarely exercised by the federal government until after the Civil War. Prior to the war, it was state governments who exercised ...

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