DIRECT TAKING: EMINENT DOMAIN

Both the Taking Clause to the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 19 of the California Constitution bar the government from taking private property for a public purpose without just compensation. Governmental takings come in two general categories. When the government acknowledges that it is taking private property, and formally starts a process to do so, this is called eminent domain. When the government takes action that a property owner thinks has damaged his or her property rights, and sues the government for compensation, this is inverse condemnation. The distinction between eminent domain and inverse condemnation boils down to who brings the lawsuit. If the government sues, it is eminent domain; if the property owner sues, it is inverse condemnation.

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