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CHAPTER 34

Takings

Federal, state, and municipal governments possess constitutional authority to acquire private property, either in fee simple or less than fee interests, such as easements, and either whole lots or strips of land. Unlike private purchasers who must find a willing seller, governments have the power to force unwilling persons to sell property to them. This power is called eminent domain. It is a power so well established that the framers of the federal and state constitutions assumed it to be an inherent right of government, so the Fifth Amendment's Takings Clause simply states, “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” This clause is applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. It mandates that reasonable compensation be paid for the property taken. The process by which the property is taken and compensation paid is called condemnation.

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