The Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment provides that if private property is “taken for public use,” the government must pay “just compensation” to the owner. On October 3, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in a case that asks whether a series of recurring floods sanctioned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers triggers that constitutional requirement. According to the federal government, it does not. In fact, the government argues that since the floodwaters ultimately receded, the damaged property was never actually "taken" in the first place. Senior Editor Damon Root explains what’s at stake in the case known as Arkansas Game & Fish Commission v. United States.
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