Use of Eminent Domain to Return Public Land

I’m not sure which section this question this belongs in so any mod feel free to move it.

It’s my understanding that in the US during this current administration that lots of public lands are being sold off to private people and/or companies. Could the next administration to take office essentially reverse all of these sales by use of Eminent Domain and say its for the public good to return these lands to the public with any compensation being bare minimal to discourage future abuses?

Where do you see that this is actively happening, and not bills written but not passed/the Interior Secretary’s ideological stance? Land sales have happened over the years, but at a small scale, and many of them are like-kind exchanges to change borders. And this is mainly federal lands, states are given more leeway for sales.

I suggest caution in using eminent domain/executive orders in doing anything like that, as your successor can quickly reverse it. The Bears Ears monument was a minor to medium argument, but both Trump and Obama used purely executive methods.

Compensations couldn’t be “bare minimal.” It would have to be fair. The Constitution requires “just compensation,” which is typically fair market value.

Would the price the private corporation paid for the public land when they bought it be a fair market value price if the government bought the land back through eminent domain?

Someone could make that argument (if too much time has not passed) but that would not necessarily be conclusive evidence. Maybe it’s worth more now because of development plans. Or less, for some reason.

I stand corrected. I had thought the transfers had been happening on a larger scale but see that I was mistaken. I guess that turns this question more in to a hypothetical than actual situation.

On average, I would guess that the buyer of public lands is likely better at valuing it than the bureaucracy that’s selling them off, so I expect that selling public lands then buying them back via eminent domain would be a major money loser for the government even before counting all the legal battles that would inevitably ensue.

I’m genuinely curious how you came to this understanding. Was it a friends-around-the-water-cooler type thing? Some website you were reading? A news story? Twitter? CNN?

The current secretary has championed sales in the past, and OP thought it was an ongoing thing and not his potential future intent.

Is that speculation on your part or something you know for a fact?

It’s the current (acting) head of the Bureau of Land Management who has most actively championed public land sales (cite to his National Review article), arguing that the Founding Fathers intended all lands to be sold and that it is unconstitutional for the feds to retain them. Pendley was appointed to his position by the current Interior Secretary, David Bernhardt.

You are correct, Director of BLM not Secretary of Interior.

According to Kelo the definition of public use is pretty much whatever the government wants it to be. However, since that decision a much better Justice has replaced Kennedy so hopefully what the OP is proposing would be deemed unconstitutional.