Public Uses and Non-Uses: Sinister Schemes, Improper Motives, and Bad Faith in Eminent Domain Law
Lynda J. Oswald
The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan
Ross School of Business Paper No. 1068
In this manuscript, I address the largely unexplored issue of whether a sovereign may use its power of eminent domain not to pursue an affirmative public use, but rather to prevent an undesired private use (such as a landfill, rehabilitation facility, or other NIMBY-triggering use) from going forward. I argue that although sovereigns tend to dissemble in these "non-use" cases based upon an underlying assumption by condemnors and courts alike that non-use takings are not constitutionally permitted, their analysis is in fact, incorrect. It is not the non-use condemnations themselves that are problematic, but the subterfuge that condemnors typically use in pursuing such takings. The resulting lack of transparency in governmental action subverts the political process and weakens private property rights protection.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 36
Keywords: Eminent Domain, Takings, Public Use, Condemnation
JEL Classification: K11, R52
Date posted: February 28, 2007
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