Document Type


Publication Date



Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment, Public use clause, Regulatory takings, Conceptual severance, Nollan-Dolan doctrine, Nollan v. California Coastal Commission, Dolan v. City of Tigard, Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council


Constitutional Law | Property Law and Real Estate | Public Law and Legal Theory


No area of property law has been more controversial in the past decade than takings. No aspect of constitutional law more sharply poses the dilemma about the legitimate powers of the regulatory state than the just compensation question. No question concerning constitutional property is more intractable than what sorts of government regulatory actions constitute uncompensated "takings" of private property.

Limitations of space, not to mention my own ambivalence about many of the issues, prevent me from developing a complete normative theory of the proper scope of the Takings Clause. My aim here is vastly more modest: to outline the basic contours of regulatory takings law for the benefit of the law teacher who knows next to nothing about the topic but who wants to know what all the fuss is about. I will confine my attention to the Supreme Court's takings cases, although some very interesting and significant takings decisions have emerged from state courts and lower federal courts (particularly the Federal Circuit).

Publication Citation

Gregory S. Alexander, "Ten Years of Takings", 46 Journal of Legal Education (1996)