Document Type

Supreme Court Commentaries

Publication Date




Subject Category

Constitutional Law | Law


Governments, both state and federal, have the right to take private property for public use, provided that just compensation is paid. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution sets the legal standard for these propositions; this power is known as the right of eminent domain. In the landmark decision, Kelo v. City of New London, the Supreme Court held that the taking of a citizen’s private property for economic development qualified as a public use within the meaning of the Fifth Amendment. Several scholars, legislatures, and individuals, have objected to Kelo’s extension of the power of eminent domain. The ruling has extended the government’s power of eminent domain to areas once thought unimaginable.