Mississippi, Bouldin and Archie Families - Release 12-12-2001
Supreme Court of Mississippi Once Again Stays Eminent Domain Proceedings Until Court Considers Constitutionality of Nissan Project Takings
WEB RELEASE: December 12, 2001
Washington, D.C.-The Supreme Court of Mississippi today ordered yet another stay of proceedings in the State of Mississippi’s attempt to take the homes and land of Madison County property owners while the Court considers the constitutional issues in the case. The Bouldin family, on whose behalf the stay was issued today, along with the Archies, are threatened with the loss of their property through eminent domain because the State wants to transfer their property to Nissan to build a privately owned truck manufacturing facility.
"The Supreme Court has stayed every eminent domain case connected to the Nissan project," said Scott Bullock, senior attorney for the Institute for Justice and lead counsel for the Bouldins and the Archies. "With its order today, the Supreme Court has guaranteed that nothing is going to happen to the Bouldins or their home as the Court considers the vital constitutional issues at stake in this case. Justice took a major step forward today."
The Bouldins’ compensation trial was scheduled to begin on Monday, December 17, in the Special Court of Eminent Domain in Madison County. Today’s order follows on the heels of a September 28, 2001, Supreme Court order staying condemnation actions filed against Andrew Archie, Jr., as well as Lonzo Archie and his wife, Matilda, until the Supreme Court considers the heart of their legal claims, including the constitutional challenge to the use of eminent domain to remove them from their land. The State of Mississippi is abusing its eminent domain authority by taking the land of the property owners not for a public use, but at the behest of a private company—Nissan Motor Co.—for its private use. The State wants to throw these people, who have owned their property for generations, out of their homes and off their land. The property owners, with the help of the Institute for Justice and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, are fighting back.
"We are elated that the Supreme Court has once again demonstrated its wisdom in staying these proceedings against the Bouldin family," said Stephanie Parker-Weaver, executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Jackson, Mississippi, chapter.
A state official recently admitted in The New York Times that the Archies’ land is not necessary for the Nissan project, but that his office is pursuing the taking to save face for the State. On September 10, 2001, the Times quoted James C. Burns, Jr., the executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority, "It’s not that Nissan is going to leave if we don’t get that land. What’s important is the message it would send to other companies if we are unable to do what we said we would do. If you make a promise to a company like Nissan, you have to be able to follow through."
"The State of Mississippi has arrogantly refused to halt its illegal eminent domain actions while these appeals are pending," Bullock said. "Now the Supreme Court has once again put a stop to it. We look forward to presenting the constitutional issues to this Court," he concluded.