Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



It has become almost an article of faith that "fair market value"constitutes the only fair and workable measure of damages for a landowner whose real property has been taken for public use. The courts apply it woodenly;' the magic words are solemnly intoned to jurors, commissioners, and arbitrators. Even the learned scholars in the field give it at least implicit recognition. Moreover, it continues to flourish despite widespread public dissatisfaction with both the substantive test for damages and the procedures through which the land is obtained. The taking of private property for the federal interstate highway and urban renewal programs, for example, has left a trial of unhappy land owners who have lost all faith in the ability or willingness of government to deal fairly with its citizens.