The power of eminent domain is neither reserved nor limited to the Federal government. The power of eminent domain was not reserved by any document, statute, or constitution. Instead, the power of eminent domain is inherent. In other words, it is deemed to be necessary to the government’s existence and therefore the government has the right of eminent domain regardless. However, the United States Constitution does speak on the government’s right of eminent domain in the “Takings Clause.” The Takings Clause is the part of the Constitution that limits the Federal government’s right to exercise eminent domain. It requires a public use and just compensation. The Takings Clause is found in the Fifth Amendment. The Fifth Amendment applies to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment.
The states are still considered to be sovereign much like the Federal government. Although the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution states that federal law is supreme over state laws, the courts have treated the states as sovereign for the purpose of eminent domain. Therefore, the general theories that support the Federal government’s use of eminent domain will also support the state’s use of eminent domain.
Furthermore, local county governments and municipalities may also exercise eminent domain. However, this is based on the inherent right of the state to exercise eminent domain. In North Carolina, the General Assembly has conferred on local government entities and certain private condemnors the ability to exercise eminent domain through statute. However, all takings by both the Federal government and North Carolina must be within the bounds of the law. First, the taking must be for a public use. Second, the government must provide just compensation for the taking. In North Carolina, what constitutes “just compensation” might be contingent on who is exercising the right of eminent domain. If your property is being taken, you should contact an eminent domain attorney to help you determine what just compensation looks like for you