What Federalism Tells Us about Takings Jurisprudence
30 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2007
This paper, one of several in a symposium on constitutional niches, discusses a niche within a niche: federalism considerations in theories of governmental takings of property. Several property theorists have argued that larger-scale and smaller-scale legislative bodies should be treated differently in takings jurisprudence, since these differently-scaled legislatures are likely to behave differently in dealing with individuals' property, and to respond differently to compensation requirements. The author agrees with this general proposition, but she sharply disagrees with the centralist drift of most of this literature, which would favor the national legislature while imposing strict takings requirements on local legislatures; she argues that these analyses overlook the existing constraints on smaller-scale governing bodies. Meanwhile, the courts have paid very little overt attention to federalism concerns of any kind in takings jurisprudence, string-citing cases about local, state, and national governments without distinguishing them. Instead of responding to federalism (and other) taking theories, actual takings jurisprudence vacillates between leniency toward all legislatures and contempt for them. The author argues, however, that federalism considerations might help courts to analyze the legislative process, and might be incorporated into takings jurisprudence by a distinction between Fifth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment takings.
Keywords: federalism, takings, property, local
JEL Classification: K11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation