Takings Clause, Eminent Domain, US Constitution
The Supreme Court has held that the federal government and each state has the power of eminent domain—the power to take private property for "public use". The Takings Clause, the last clause of the Fifth Amendment, limits the power of eminent domain by requiring that "just compensation" be paid if private property is taken for public use. The just compensation provision of the Fifth Amendment did not originally apply directly to the states, but since Chicago, B. & Q. Railroad Co. v. Chicago (1897), federal courts have held that the Fourteenth Amendment extended the effects of that provision to the states. The federal courts, however, have shown much deference to the determinations of Congress, and even more so to the determinations of the state legislatures, of what constitutes "public use". The property need not actually be used by the public; rather, it must be used or disposed of in such a manner as to benefit the public welfare or public interest.