Nationalization and Necessity: Takings and a Doctrine of Economic Emergency

Nestor M. Davidson

Serious economic crises have recurred with regularity throughout our history. So too have government takeovers of failing private companies in respons, and the downturn of the last decade was no exception. At the height of the crisis, the federal government nationalized several of the country's largest private enterprises. Recently, shareholders in these firms have sued the federal government, arguing that the takeovers constituted a taking of their property without just compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment. 

This Essay argues that for the owners of companies whose failure would raise acute economic spillovers, nationalization without the obligation to pay just compensation should be recognized as a natural extension of the doctrine of emergency in takings.

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3 BRIGHAM-KANNER PROPERTY RIGHTS CONF. J. 187 (2014)