eminent domain

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Related to Right of eminent domain: Condemnation Proceedings

eminent domain,

the right of a government to force the owner of private property sell it if it is needed for a public use. The right is based on the doctrine that a sovereign state has dominion over all lands and buildings within its borders, which has its origins in the landholding system under feudalismfeudalism
, form of political and social organization typical of Western Europe from the dissolution of Charlemagne's empire to the rise of the absolute monarchies. The term feudalism is derived from the Latin feodum,
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. Eminent domain is implicitly enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, which in the Fifth Amendment requires that private property not be taken for public use without just compensation. The process of acquiring private property by eminent domain is known as condemnation.

Eminent domain traditionally has been used by governments to condemn land for building roads, schools, goverment buildings, and the like. The right of eminent domain may also be assigned to public and private corporations engaged in activities regarded as benefiting the public, such as the development of port facilities, the building of a canal or railroad, or the redevelopment of a blighted area. In 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court, in Kelo v. the City of New London, ruled that the Connecticut city had the right to condemn unblighted private property and transfer it to another private owner for development even if the only public benefit might be increased employment and tax revenues. Public outcry over the decision subsequently led most states to adopt legislation or constitutional amendments that limited, in varying degrees, the ability of state and local governments to use eminent domain to condemn private property for use by a private corporation. At the same time, some government officials and private developers raised concerns over how the laws and amendments would affect their ability to undertake large-scale development projects.

See also public ownershippublic ownership,
government ownership of lands, streets, public buildings, utilities, and other business enterprises. The theory that all land and its resources belong ultimately to the people and therefore to the government is very ancient.
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eminent domain

The power of the state to appropriate private property, usually for public use and with the payment of compensation to the owner.
References in periodicals archive ?
It is for this reason that God brings judgment on the land; he is the only one with the right of eminent domain (e.
The use for which private property is to be taken must be a public one, whether the taking be by the exercise of the right of eminent domain or by that of taxation.
1) Defend the decision of the majority who voted to allow the city of New London, Connecticut, to use the right of eminent domain to condemn the private property.
After years of holding out for a better real estate agreement, company officials one day found themselves faced with the city's right of eminent domain, and the threat of condemnation of the 105-year-old facility.
While railroad lines or railroad rights-of-way heretofore have not been condemned to be used for local commuter train operations, the precedent cases upholding the sovereign's exercise of the right of eminent domain to take railroad properties for public purposes would seem to suggest that such takings may be affected.
At the other extreme are "residual communities" that consist of households whose property is subject only to taxation and the right of eminent domain.
According to a plan now under discussion, the city would use its right of eminent domain to buy one of its oldest companies, Morse Cutting Tools, which is about to be abandoned by its multinational conglomerate owner, Gulf
It also challenges its power to exercise the federal right of eminent domain to condemn and acquire private property under the Energy Policy Act.
Below, one lawyer had argued "that the government did not possess the right of eminent domain.