Fifth Amendment: Just Compensation (1791)

This is called the “Takings Clause.” The government’s power to take privately-owned land in order to build roads, schools, libraries and other public facilities is called eminent domain. It was recently reinterpreted to permit government to take more generally for public purposes, such as anticipated economic development. The Clause ensures that the government must pay owners “just compensation” (usually understood to be fair market value) when it uses eminent domain to take property for public use. The right to just compensation from the government is an economic right of citizens. This protection is part of the due process rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment.

Landmark Supreme Court cases involving the Takings Clause include Kelo v. New London (2005).