All Eminent Domain at the Post Today…
Today’s Post-Dispatch gives extensive coverage to various eminent domain issues in St. Charles, Jefferson and St. Louis Counties. The St. Charles’ story is a good example of what can happen when voters take this issue to heart. A proposed project using eminent domain has been stalled because voters voted out the city councilman who was supporting the project. That’s called democracy. People should trust it just a little bit more.
The Jefferson County case is a victory for the good Doctor Tourkakis. We have been following his case closely here at the Show-Me Institute and are delighted that his decidedly-not-blighted dental practice will still be serving the people of Arnold. Reading this story made me wonder if the elected judges in the far-suburban and rural areas of Missouri might be just a little more sensitive to the public’s anger over eminent domain abuse than the appointed (usually for life) judges in St. Louis and Kansas City? That is not to say that the ruling in favor of Dr. T was not entirely based on the law, but it is an interesting question.
The St. Louis County case is, of course, about the Centene Project dispute, which is being heard today by the State Supreme Court. With my luck, the court will announce its decision exactly one second after my editor reviews and posts this – making this post irrelevent, but so it goes. I wish I knew enough about the Supreme Court to offer a prediction, but I don’t. I know that I want the Centene Project to move forward – but I don’t want other businesses in a wonderful area such as Clayton to be closed (or at least forcibly moved) just so another company can expand. It is too bad it had to come to this point, perhaps more negotiating and less threats of eminent domain by Centene in the early stages of the project could have prevented this. Now it is a matter of principle for the opponents to stand and fight and all costs, which is their right. Hopefully they will win their case, prove their point, make solid case law for the rights of property owners throughout Missouri, Centene will up its offer, the opponents will accept the new offer, the project will move forward, and everyone can declare victory and go home.