Glossary

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Eminent Domain
Eminent domain is the government's right to seize private land in order to use it for public purposes like roads, trains, and public utilities. Just compensation must be provided for the land that is taken. This means that if a state government wants to build a new interstate and there is a farm in the way, it must first prove that the farm is indeed blocking the best route for the road. Then, the government will have to go through a set of procedures to enact eminent domain and purchase the land; however, the farmer does have a right to protest the seizure of property. The final decision will be made by a court of law and can even end up in the Supreme Court if the case becomes difficult. Another example would be the seizure of property in a valley that is to be flooded when a new dam is constructed.