The Takings Clause is this provision in the Fifth Amendment:
- nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation
In other words, the Takings Clause requires government to compensate property owners when government "takes" their property.
The U.S. Supreme Court distinguishes between acquisitions of property for public use and regulations prohibiting private uses. The Court has stated that "land-use regulations are ubiquitous and most of them impact property values in some tangential way -- often in completely unanticipated ways. Treating them all as per se takings would transform government regulation into a luxury few governments could afford. By contrast, physical appropriations are relatively rare, easily identified, and usually represent a greater affront to individual property rights." Tahoe-Sierra Pres. Council v. Tahoe Reg'l Planning Agency, 535 U.S. 302, 323-24 (2002).
James Madison is credited with drafting the Takings Clause in the Fifth Amendment, which is part of the Bill of Rights. By the time of the Civil War, every state except North Carolina also had a Takings Clause protecting against uncompensated seizure of property by state government. Today the Fifth Amendment is applied against the states and local governments by virtue of incorporation doctrine.