It was easier to make a revolution than to write 600 to 800 laws to create a market economy.
Jiri Dienstbier, Foreign Minister of Czechoslovakia (1990)
[I]t would be as absurd to argue that the distribution of property must never be modified by law as it would be to argue that the distribution of political power must never bechanged.
The takings clause of the United States Constitution requires government to pay compensation when private property is taken for public use. When government regulates, but does not physically seize, property, the Supreme Court of the United States has had trouble defining when individuals have been deprived of property rights so as to give them a right to compensation. The takings clause serves “to bar Government from forcing some people alone to bear public burdens that, in all fairness and justice, should be borne by the public as a whole.” To determine when a regulation amounts to a “taking” of property requiring compensation, the Court has rightly stated that the ultimate question is whether the burden of regulation has been unfairly placed on a small class of individuals rather than the public at large. To answer this question, the Court has identified a variety of factors to consider, including the character of the governmental action, (whether the regulation effects a permanent physical invasion, destroys a core property right, or is intended to prevent public harm), whether the regulation interferes with reasonable investment-backed expectations, and the extent of the diminution in value of the property (particularly whether the regulation deprives the owner of any economically viable use of the property).