Does eminent domain have a positive or a negative effect on a community, city, or state? Use of eminent domain power to promote economic development, particularly in America’s urban centers, has become the focus of significant controversy over the last several years. Promoting economic development is a traditional and long accepted governmental function that dates back to the mid 1800’s. It was in 1896 when the Fifth Amendment limitations on federal takings were applied to all eminent domain takings. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution reads:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. (U.S. Constitution)
And when the Texas Constitution was written they included a section that refers to Eminent Domain, and due compensation. The Texas constitution reads, “No person’s property shall be taken, damaged or destroyed for or applied to public use without adequate compensation being made, unless by the consent of such person, and, when taken, except for the use of the State, such compensation shall be first made, or secured by a deposit of money” (TX Constitution).
At first consideration, it sounds as if it would be a sound economic decision to use eminent domain when necessary to take a big block of an old run down unattractive area and replace it with newer, larger and revenue producing building’s and business or perhaps wider or more direct roadways On the other hand, at what cost and burden would this action have on the...