Commentary: Nashville Sidewalk Extortion Faces Court Appeal

If you want to build a house, obviously you have to pay the owner for the land.Otherwise, it is theft. Property rights are the bedrock of a civil society. Just read the Constitution. Personal property rights are guaranteed even against the government by the Fifth Amendment.

If John Smith wants to build a house on land owned by Jane Doe, he purchases the land from her. But what happens when a local government wants to build a road or sidewalk across someone’s property? Unlike John Smith, the government can make Jane Doe sell, but the government must still pay fair value.

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