Washington Law Review


In perspective, then, the constitutional eminent domain clauses are not ends in themselves, nor are they beginnings. They are formal, concise statements of principles recognized and enshrined, but not invented, by the constitution maker. The real significance and meaning of these principles, therefore, depends on the discovery of their historical and theoretical development, rather than solely on the interpretations of the constitutions. The purpose of this article is to develop a framework, based on that discovery, for analyzing the principles of eminent domain. It will impose order upon our inquiry if we organize it under the following heads: the act of taking, the compensation requirement, the public-purpose limitation, and the concept of property.

First Page