Debate: Eminent domain
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Do eminent domain laws, empowering governments to seize property, make sense?
Background and context
Eminent domain (United States of America), compulsory purchase (United Kingdom, New Zealand, Ireland), resumption/compulsory acquisition (Australia) or expropriation (South Africa and Canada) or land acquisition (India) in common law legal systems is the inherent power of the state to seize a citizen's private property, expropriate property, or seize a citizen's rights in property with due monetary compensation, but without the owner's consent. The property is taken either for government use or by delegation to third parties who will devote it to public or civic use or, in some cases, economic development. The most common uses of property taken by eminent domain are for public utilities, highways, and railroads. Some jurisdictions require that the government body offer to purchase the property before resorting to the use of eminent domain.
The legal doctrine of eminent domain, like the doctrine of seizure of contraband, allows expropriation of property within the existing system of law. Otherwise, expropriation may imply either a criminal or a revolutionary act.
See Wikipedia's article on Eminent domain for more background.