Nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.
The Supreme Court has largely ignored the “public use requirement” for eminent domain, most recently in 2006 when it ruled in Kelo v. New London that the Constitution does not prohibit cities from taking privately owned land to make way for commercial developments
This has lead to wide-spread criticism, but it’s not clear what “public use” even means. E.g., it can’t mean literal use by any member of the public, since clearly the state can use eminent domain to assemble a parcel of land to build a military base.
Some commentators have even suggested reading “taken for public use” as merely a condition for compensation (i.e., if the state takes land for private use it doesn’t have to compensate), but that’s a little crazy.
Regardless, whether or not land is taken for public or private use is irrelevant to the question of whether the taking is justified. Takings are useful for avoiding hold outs and other transaction costs that arise when a party tries to purchase a large, contiguous plot of land (regardless of the land’s intended use)
To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit "The U.S. Constitution (Bill Of Rights)" by United States Congress (Ft. James Madison & Thomas Jefferson) and leave a comment on the lyrics box