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The Governments Taking of Private Property The Constitution of the United States is based primarily on the ideas of the 17th Century English philosopher John Locke Locke thought that everyone had natural rights which included life liberty and property Locke stated the great and chief end therefore of mens uniting into commonwealths and putting themselves under government is the preservation of property Locke McClaughry 3 He thought that if any of these rights were violated that the violator should make restitution The Takings Clause in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution states Nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation When the government needs a citizens private property to build roads or buildings they compensate the person with money roughly equal to the value of that persons land The problem of the government taking or restricting a citizens land arises with regulation of private property John McClaughry defines regulatory taking as a governmental confiscation or destruction of economic rights by regulation without the physical occupation which would trigger just compensation to the owner McClaughry 7 The case of Lucas v South Carolina Coastal Council is an example of regulatory taking In the case of Lucas v South Carolina Coastal Council Lucas bought two adjacent lots on the coast of the Isle of Palms in South Carolina only to have the land restricted by the state which prevented his intended use of the lots Lucas argued that the states restriction of the land constituted taking without just compensation The South Carolina Court of Common Pleas agreed with Lucas and awarded him 123238750 The Supreme Court of South Carolina disagreed with the lower court and saying that the restrictions were designed to prevent serious public harm so no compensation was necessary even if it did affect the propertys value Lucas appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States decided on Lucas v South
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