Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 1980


In Copyright


This paper examines the effects and implications of the ‘public use’ requirement for the exercise of eminent domain in the United States. It is part of an ongoing inquiry the consequences of eminent domain in the United States. The first part examines the history of the public use requirement, both how the doctrine has been articulated and logically extended and what purposes have been accomplished under it. The second part of the paper is an analytic critique of the public use doctrine. After considering whether any principled standard can be developed to delimit the proper uses of eminent domain, it examines a number of the difficult empirical and political questions confronted in any effort to develop such a standard that properly limits state power to confiscate privately held property.

Publication Title

Environmental Law

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Originally published by Environmental Law, 11 Envtl. L. 1 (1980).