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 Consideration of the compensation question must begin with direct reference to the language of the Fifth Amendment, which provides in relevant part that 'private property [shall not] be taken for public use, without just compensation.' As its language indicates, and as the Court has frequently noted, this provision does not prohibit the taking of private property, but instead places a condition on the exercise of that power. See Williamson County, 473 U.S. at 473 U. S. 194; Hodel v. Virginia Surface Mining & Reclamation Assn., Inc., 452 U. S. 264, 452 U. S. 297, n. 40 (1981); 285 U. S. 104 (1932); Monongahela Navigation Co. v. United States, 148 U. S. 312, 148 U. S. 336 (1893); United States v. Jones, 109 U. S. 513, 109 U. S. 518 (1883). This basic understanding of the Amendment makes clear that it is designed not to limit the governmental interference with property rights per se, but rather to secure compensation in the event of otherwise proper interference amounting to a taking. Thus, government action that works a taking of property rights necessarily implicates the 'constitutional obligation to pay just compensation.' Armstrong v. United States,364 U. S. 40, 364 ...

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