Someone once observed that when you rob Peter to pay Paul, you always can count on the support of Paul. That is what the takings clause of the United States Constitution is all about—it is designed to prevent the many Pauls of the world from using their political power to take property from the Peters of the world. In fact, it is something of a misnomer to refer to the clause as the "takings" clause of the fifth amendment. We would be far more correct if we called it the "anti-takings" clause. The first purpose of this commentary is to discuss the takings clause and its historical development in the Supreme Court of the United States. Then, the commentary will focus on the 1987 takings cases in the Supreme Court, and discuss whether they have restored some bite to the fifth amendment's protection of private property.

I. Introduction

II. The Takings Clause

III. Historical Development in the Supreme Court

IV. The 1987 Takings Cases ... A. Keystone ... B. Hodel ... C. First English ... D. Nollan

V. Conclusion