Marching Up the Hill, and Marching Down Again in Mississippi

It’s hard for us to keep up with the sinuous ways of politicians. It was only yesterday that the Mississippi legislature passed legislation curbing eminent domain takings of private property for “economic redevelopment” – a not-so-thinly disguised way of taking land from one private party and transferring it to another private, more favored party for the latter’s economic gain. But Mississippi Governor Hailey Barbour vetoed that legislation because, as he explained it, it would have interfered with the state’s ability to provide land taken from its citizens to foreign car manufacturers like Nissan. Besides, said the Guv, in Mississippi the courts have the final say on what is “public use,” so that legislation was unnecessary. 

Now, all of a sudden, Governor Barbour has had some sort of change of heart, we think, and has called for a special session of the Mississippi legislature to enact – ta,da! – eminent domain reform legislation. Why the Governor chose not to work with the legislature during the past year and work out some sort of compromise that would have been acceptable to his constituency and would have obviated a need for that veto, must be one of those unfathomable mysteries accessible only to those mavens with an insight into how a politician’s mind works. Being untutored in such matters, we suspect that the Governor realized in the wake of that veto that he succeeded in getting the people of Mississippi pissed off, so he decided to do some fence mending. But then again, what do we know about such things? 

So stay tuned and see how this up-and-down drama plays out.