Mississippi Passes Restriction on “Economic Development” Eminent Domain Takings

WJTV, Channel 1 of Jackson, Mississippi, reports that in yesterday’s election the eminent domain amendment to the state constitution passed by a whoppping 73% to 27% margin, in spite of opposition by Republican Governor Haley Barbour. The new constitutional provision prohibits the taking of private property for commercial redevelopment. Under its terms the taker must hold the property¬†for at least 10 years before conveying it.

Interestingly, the losing argument by the proposition’s opponents was that without the use of eminent domain for economic redevelopment, Mississippi would not be able to attract industry, like Toyota and Nissan both of which built plants in Mississippi on land taken by eminent domain and turned over to them. Mind you, both Totota and Nissan make good cars and if they want to enter the U.S. market by building and selling their cars here, that’s private enterprise. But we see no reason why an American state should abuse its citizens by taking their land, and subsidizing foreign car manufacturers so they can better compete against American car manufacturers and drive them out of business. What were these guys thinking?

For the full text of the WJTV news item see http://www2.wjtv.com/news/2011/nov/08/eminent-domain-passes-ar-2675503/

For a short article from The Jurist, a University of Pittsburgh Law School newspaper, that sums up the new Mississippi legislation and places it in the context of other, similar state enactments, click here.