Government takings of private land for public purposes are permitted by the United States Constitution. Recently, more takings have occurred that largely benefit private individuals rather than the general public. The land taken for private benefit has primarily been that of low-income and minority individuals. Similarly, toxic waste sites are most often placed in low-income and minority neighborhoods. The modern environmental justice movement helps to shed light on why low-income and minority property owners are targeted in this way. The U.S. Supreme Court should adjust its analysis of both takings cases and environmental justice cases to account for the inability of the victims of these government actions to prove discriminatory intent. Without this adjustment, the blatant disparate impact of these decisions will continue to disproportionately burden low income and minority individuals.
Catherine E. Beideman,
Eminent Domain and Environmental Justice: A New Standard of Review in Discrimination Cases,
B.C. Envtl. Aff. L. Rev.