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Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Seattle University School of Law

Seattle University Law Review

Fifth Amendment

2020

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“Public Use” Or Public Abuse? A New Test For Public Use In Light Of Kelo, Taylor Haines Oct 2020

“Public Use” Or Public Abuse? A New Test For Public Use In Light Of Kelo, Taylor Haines

Seattle University Law Review

The Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment has long been controversial. It allows the government to take private property for the purpose of “public use.” But what does public use mean? The definition is one of judicial interpretation. It has evolved from the original meaning intended by the drafters of the Constitution. Now, the meaning is extremely broad. This Note argues that both the original and contemporary meaning of public use are problematic. It explores the issues with both definitions and suggests a new test, solidified in legislation instead of judicial interpretation.