Textualism and the Takings Clause:
I don't know much at all about the Takings Clause, so I hope the Takings Clause experts out there can help me (and inform the VC's readers) with a very basic question I have concerning the issues raised in the Kelo v. City of New London case. In Steve Bainbridge's post linked to by Randy below, Steve notes the text of the Takings Clause:
Nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Steve then adds:
Note that the Takings Clause has two independent requirements: (1) just compensation must be paid; (2) the property must be taken for a "public use." This second requirement means that the government may not take away your property to give it to some other private individual (or company) who will then devote it to their own personal or business use.
I have no expertise at all in the Takings Clause, but my understanding is that this is more or less an accurate summary of exsiting Supreme Court doctrine. As best I recall, the Supreme Court has interpreted the Takings Clause this way for a long time.

  At the same time, this isn't what the text of the Takings Clause actually says. The text of the clause says that if private property is taken for public use, then just compensation must be paid. The Constitutional text doesn't address takings for private use at all. Not only would such a taking seem to be allowed by default, but the Constitutional text doesn't even seem to require the government to pay just compensation for it. The text doesn't say, "Private property shall not be taken for private use, nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation." It only says "Nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." Obviously there are good policy reasons why we might not want the Court to read the text this way, and there are also reasons why someone might or might not be a textualist. Still, if you're a textualist it seems that you're kinda stuck with that reading.

  My question is, what am I missing? How can a textualist agree with the Court's current reading of the Takings clause? My very quick look at the cases suggests that the Court picked up the "public use" element as a requirement for a taking back in the days when the Justices limited the legislature's authority to the "police power"; the idea is that a taking has to be a public use for it to fall within the police power. But the "police power" limitation wasn't rooted in the text of the Constitution, either. It seems to me that a good textualist would say that either the taking in Kelo was for "public use" and required comepnsation or was for private use and doesn't require compensation at all. Oddly, though, I can't seem to find any self-described textualists who interpret the Takings Clause this way.

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