Eminent domain, right and wrong: The Advocate, Baton Rouge LA, 11/7/06


By Lewis Doherty III

... I have handled dozens of eminent domain (expropriation) cases during my tenure as a judge, and even employed procedures which expedited their resolution.

There is no question that where the necessity is established, eminent domain is appropriate for the taking of private property for the acquisition of schools, highways, public buildings and rights of way for public utilities.

However, the taking of private property, as authorized by the United States Supreme Court in the [New] London [CT] case, to be given to private developers under the guise of economic development merely for the purpose of increasing a government’s tax base, is manifestly wrong.

Fortunately, state legislatures such as ours have tried to put an end to this government grab bag.

Eminent domain is a severe remedy and should only be used for a truly public purpose. I do not believe the taking of private property and turning it over to private developers meets a valid public purpose.

The Advocate: http://www.2theadvocate.com/opinion

Lewis Doherty III is a Retired District Judge in Baton Rouge LA