The United States government, as well as all fifty states, their agencies, as well as local governments, can take private property for public use, but they are required by law to pay the private property owner “just compensation.”
From the standpoint of the private property owner, the government very rarely offers enough money to justly compensate the private property owner, and this often gives rise to a legal dispute. A case in which a private property owner seeks just compensation for the taking of private property is called an eminent domain case.
Property can be acquired through eminent domain if it is for public use such as:
- a park
- a school,
- a road
- anything of that nature
The property can only be taken legally if the landowner receives just compensation for their land.
Most of the fight in eminent domain cases comes down to the value of the property or just compensation. The sticking point in an eminent domain case is the real value of the property. The court cases are never really a fight about whether the condemning entity has the right to take it, which is addressed in the Constitution.