Eminent Domain, Urban Renewal and the Constitution Legal and Policy Perspectives: Session 1

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February 4, 2005 Speakers: Eric R. Claeys, Assistant Professor of Law, St. Louis University School of Law Thomas W. Merrill, Professor of Law, Columbia Law School John Edward Mogk, Professor of Law, Wayne State University Timothy Sandefur, Esq., Staff Attorney, Pacific Legal Foundation Moderator: Steven J. Eagle, Professor of Law, George Mason University Presented by: Center for Business Law & Regulation Co-sponsored by the Federalist Society Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Session Title: Public Use: Fifth Amendment Limits on the Use of Eminent Domain Summary: This panel considers the extent to which the Fifth Amendment, which provides that “nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation” – limits the purposes for which the government’s eminent domain power can be used. Specifically, the panel examines the extent to which the Fifth Amendment should be read to limit or preclude the use of eminent domain for blight remediation, economic development, or other economic purposes, or whether “public use” constitutes any and all uses deemed by the legislature or other political bodies to be in the public interest. While through much of the 20th century courts gave state and local governments rather wide discretion in determining what constitutes a “public use,” in recent years some courts have begun to read “public use” more narrowly.

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