Page:United States Reports, Volume 545.djvu/538

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487
Cite as: 545 U. S. 469 (2005)

Opinion of the Court

citizen B for the sole reason that citizen B will put the property to a more productive use and thus pay more taxes. Such a one-to-one transfer of property, executed outside the confines of an integrated development plan, is not presented in this case. While such an unusual exercise of government power would certainly raise a suspicion that a private purpose was afoot,[1] the hypothetical cases posited by petitioners can be confronted if and when they arise.[2] They do not warrant the crafting of an artificial restriction on the concept of public use.[3]

Alternatively, petitioners maintain that for takings of this kind we should require a “reasonable certainty” that the expected public benefits will actually accrue. Such a rule, however, would represent an even greater departure from


  1. Courts have viewed such aberrations with a skeptical eye. See, e. g., 99 Cents Only Stores v. Lancaster Redevelopment Agency, 237 F. Supp. 2d 1123 (CD Cal. 2001); cf. Cincinnati v. Vester, 281 U. S. 439, 448 (1930) (taking invalid under state eminent domain statute for lack of a reasoned explanation). These types of takings may also implicate other constitutional guarantees. See Village of Willowbrook v. Olech, 528 U. S. 562 (2000) (per curiam).
  2. Cf. Panhandle Oil Co. v. Mississippi ex rel. Knox, 277 U. S. 218, 223 (1928) (Holmes, J., dissenting) (“The power to tax is not the power to destroy while this Court sits”).
  3. A parade of horribles is especially unpersuasive in this context, since the Takings Clause largely “operates as a conditional limitation, permitting the government to do what it wants so long as it pays the charge.” Eastern Enterprises v. Apfel, 524 U. S. 498, 545 (1998) (Kennedy, J., concurring in judgment and dissenting in part). Speaking of the takings power, Justice Iredell observed that “[i]t is not sufficient to urge, that the power may be abused, for, such is the nature of all power,—such is the tendency of every human institution: and, it might as fairly be said, that the power of taxation, which is only circumscribed by the discretion of the Body, in which it is vested, ought not to be granted, because the Legislature, disregarding its true objects, might, for visionary and useless projects, impose a tax to the amount of nineteen shillings in the pound. We must be content to limit power where we can, and where we cannot, consistently with its use, we must be content to repose a salutory confidence.” Calder, 3 Dall., at 400 (opinion concurring in result).