Read & Consider the Following: The power of eminent domain is granted to governmental bodies — federal, state and local — by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, under the simple phrase, “…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” In simple terms, the government can take privately owned land, as long as the land will be used by the public and the owner is paid a fair price for the land, what the amendment calls, “just compensation.” Typically, governments exercised their power of eminent domain to acquire property for facilities clearly intended for use by the public, like schools, freeways or bridges. While such eminent domain actions are often viewed as distasteful, they are generally accepted because of their overall benefit to the public. In the case of Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005), the U.S. Supreme Court changed the interpretation of the government’s power of eminent domain by condoning the new trend among cities to use eminent domain to acquire land for the redevelopment or revitalization of depressed areas. In other words, the use of eminent domain for economic, rather than public purposes. Review the Attached Case and Write a Forum Post Answering the Following Questions: What do you think of the expansion of Eminent Domain in this manner? What property rights, if any, do you believe are violated? Can you think of a good balancing test for governments to use when taking property via eminent domain to ensure fairness?
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