Thomas, J., dissenting
the earliest Mill Acts were applied to entities with duties to remain open to the public, and their later extension is not deeply probative of whether that subsequent practice is consistent with the original meaning of the Public Use Clause. See McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm’n, 514 U. S. 334, 370 (1995) (Thomas, J., concurring in judgment). At the time of the founding, “[b]usiness corporations were only beginning to upset the old corporate model, in which the raison d’être of chartered associations was their service to the public,” Horwitz, supra, at 49–50, so it was natural to those who framed the ﬁrst Public Use Clauses to think of mills as inherently public entities. The disagreement among state courts, and state legislatures’ attempts to circumvent public use limits on their eminent domain power, cannot obscure that the Public Use Clause is most naturally read to authorize takings for public use only if the government or the public actually uses the taken property.
Our current Public Use Clause jurisprudence, as the Court notes, has rejected this natural reading of the Clause. Ante, at 479–483. The Court adopted its modern reading blindly, with little discussion of the Clause’s history and original meaning, in two distinct lines of cases: ﬁrst, in cases adopting the “public purpose” interpretation of the Clause, and second, in cases deferring to legislatures’ judgments regarding what constitutes a valid public purpose. Those questionable cases converged in the boundlessly broad and deferential
constitute public use); Harding v. Goodlett, 3 Yer. 41, 53 (Tenn. 1832); Jacobs v. Clearview Water Supply Co., 220 Pa. 388, 393–395, 69 A. 870, 872 (1908) (endorsing actual public use standard); Minnesota Canal & Power Co. v. Koochiching Co., 97 Minn. 429, 449–451, 107 N. W. 405, 413 (1906) (same); Chesapeake Stone Co. v. Moreland, 126 Ky. 656, 663–667, 104 S. W. 762, 765 (Ct. App. 1907) (same); Note, Public Use in Eminent Domain, 21 N. Y. U. L. Q. Rev. 285, 286, and n. 11 (1946) (calling the actual public use standard the “majority view” and citing other cases).