Sen. Chris McDaniel on Eminent Domain proposition

Six years ago, the Supreme Court held that the government’s power of eminent domain may be used to take private property – one’s home, business, farm or church – based on a number of purported justifications, including the possibility of tax revenue generation or even presumably to enhance aesthetics.

It was a shocking decision which abandoned a long-standing limitation on government power, finding that private property is now subject to being confiscated and transferred so long as it might be upgraded. The decision butchered a 214 year-old Constitutional principle: government shouldn’t use its power to take private property and then transfer it from one private entity to another.

In response, Mississippians fought to place the issue of eminent domain reform on this year’s November ballot.

The measure – known as Proposition 31 – would generally prohibit state and local governments from taking private property by eminent domain and then transferring it to other private entities for a period of 10 years.

And, yet, reform isn’t without its detractors.

Those against it contend that economic development could be hindered, ignoring the irrefutable fact that extensive development existed well-prior to the Court’s misguided interpretation.
Unprecedented economic growth – including the industrial revolution – took place during a period between 1791 to 2005, and no one dared to consider eminent domain as a tool for economic development.

Sen. Chris McDaniel
10/30/11