Public Interest

Although the concept of the public interest has a long history, it remains one of the most often used yet illdefined concepts in public discourse. The difficulty in specifying the public interest parallels the similar problems the literature has had in clearly distinguishing consequence, and affect the community at large. When, therefore, one devotes his property to a use in which the public has an interest, he, in effect, grants to the public an interest in that use, and must submit to be controlled by the public for the common good, to the extent of the interest he has thus created.” The difficulty of decoding such language, making it more operational than hortatory, is evident.

Eventually, the Court decreed, in Nebbia v. New York, 291 ...

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