Judge Rejects Eminent Domain Ballot Summary
Earlier this week, a judge struck down a ballot summary prepared by Missouri’s secretary of state for an initiative that aims to limit eminent domain in the state Constitution. He called the summary “insufficient and unfair” because, according to the judge, it implies that these property rights are not already protected in the Missouri Constitution.
At the same time, the judge rejected many of the claims filed by opponents of the two amendments:
The Missouri Municipal League, which opposes the amendments, raised numerous legal challenges to both but prevailed on only one claim against one of the measures.[Judge] Callahan struck down a portion of Carnahan’s summary that said the amendment would restrict eminent domain by “requiring that any taking of property be necessary for a public use and that landowners receive just compensation.”
While this slows the petition process, the measure’s sponsoring group, the Missouri Citizens for Property Rights, is optimistic about the proposal with the suggested change. The group hopes to establish two new constitutional amendments:
The combined intent is to prevent a person’s home, business or other private property from being condemned for another private development, such as a shopping center.
Such condemnations often take the form of specious designations of “blight” being ascribed to houses like the Kelo house (which was under dispute in the Kelo v. New London Supreme Court case) in order to make way for private development.
For more about eminent domain, read the extensive policy writings and work by Show-Me institute staff on the topic.