"This report is a reverse chronological listing of U.S. Supreme Court decisions addressing claims that a government entity has 'taken' private property, as that term is used in the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The Takings Clause states: '[N]or shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.' A scattering of related, substantive due process decisions is also included. Under the Takings Clause, courts allow two distinct types of suit. 'Condemnation' (also 'formal condemnation') occurs when a government or private entity formally invokes its power of eminent domain by filing suit to take a specified property, upon payment to the owner of just compensation. By contrast, a 'taking action' is a suit by a property holder against the government, claiming that government conduct has effectively taken the property notwithstanding that the government has not filed a formal condemnation suit. Because it is the procedural reverse of a condemnation action, a taking action is often called an 'inverse condemnation' action. A typical taking action complains of severe regulation of land use, though the Takings Clause reaches all species of property, real and personal, tangible and intangible. The taking action generally demands that the government compensate the property owner, just as when government formally exercises eminent domain. Finding the line between government interferences with property that are takings and those that are not has occupied the Supreme Court in most of the 100-plus decisions compiled here. The Supreme Court's decisions in these takings actions reach back to 1870, and are divided in this report into three periods."
CRS Report for Congress, 97-122