Mississippi should protect its property owners’ rights

Laurel Leader-Call

LAUREL — For more than two centuries, the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment imposed a basic limitation on the scope of government’s eminent domain authority, since the “takings” clause of the Amendment was consistently and properly interpreted to prohibit the taking of private property for private use even if just compensation was paid. Government was not permitted to confiscate property from one private individual and transfer it to another; all government takings of private property presupposed an actual public purpose such as highways, schools or courthouses.

However, after the United States Supreme Court’s 2005 decision in Kelo v. City of New London, certain longstanding protections provided by the Fifth Amendment were stripped away. In Kelo, the Court dramatically altered the Constitution’s original understanding by expanding the scope of “public use” to encompass non-traditional and even private uses.