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Court Expands Property For Which Government Must Pay ‘Just Compensation’


In Armstrong v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court holds that the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause applies not only to land and real estate but also to more intangible property, such as financial interests. In Armstrong, a company building ships for the government did not complete its contract. The company turned over to the government the partially completed ships and the remaining building materials so the government could finish the job. A second company, the supplier of the materials, complained that the shipbuilding company never had paid it and that the government would be “taking” the supplier’s property unless it paid the amount that was owed. The Court agrees.