Date and Time:
Friday, August 24, 2012 at 12 p.m.
Warren Hall, Faculty Reading Room
"Rethinking the Federal Eminent Domain Power"
William Baude, fellow in the Constitutional Law Center, Stanford University
It is now black-letter law that the federal government has the power to take private land through eminent domain, so long as it pays compensation. The Supreme Court first established the existence of this power in the 1875 case of Kohl v. United States, and it is now taken for granted. Many people now cannot imagine that the power was ever controversial. This article challenges that conventional wisdom, and argues that the federal eminent domain power was far from inevitable. Indeed, there is a very good case that the federal government never had that authority.