The government practice of eminent domain, the forceful seizure of land by the government under the auspices of “highest and best use”, has been the bane of many Libertarians and property rights activists over the last few decades. Recently in Utah, however, we are seeing a newly emerging front in the debate.
Utah Governor Gary Herbert (R) has suggested recently that the state of Utah could seize Federally-owned land under the justification of eminent domain. To most legal scholars, this seems to be a possible violation of McCulloch v. Maryland. What do you think? Should a state’s right to apply eminent domain trump the federal government’s right? Or vice versa? Or should the whole practice of eminent domain go the way of the dinosaurs?