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Somin Comments on University Uses of Eminent Domain

Commenting in Inside Higher Ed on eminent domain practices, Professor Ilya Somin states that universities should avoid use of eminent domain, even in instances where legality of a university’s action does not appear to be in question.

“It might well be legal under the state law and under the federal constitution, but that does not mean it’s a good idea,” he said. “It does tend to destroy economic value.”

Somin argues, too, that the policy rationale for condemnation of land for the purposes of private university development is somewhat dubious.

The article quotes a 2006 blog post by Somin in which he states, “Condemnation of property is rarely if ever actually useful for the purposes of advancing research or educating poor students. In general, research can be undertaken and students educated just as well on voluntarily purchased land. If universities wish to pursue these goals by acquiring additional land, they should do it by competing with other potential buyers in the real estate market.”

Change is Eminent, Inside Higher Ed, September 19, 2012. By Kevin Kiley.

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