Washington, D.C.-This weekend, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Jackson, Mississippi, presented its top award—the Drum Major for Justice Award—to the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice. The free-market public interest law firm was recognized for successfully representing property owners in Madison County who fought the abuse of eminent domain by the state of Mississippi for the benefit of Nissan Motor Corp.
Accepting the award on behalf of the Institute, Senior Attorney Scott Bullock dedicated the award to the property owners: “We would not have been able to win this battle if it were not for their heroic decision to stand up not only for their rights, but for the rights of every property owner in this state. This victory is an inspiration to other property owners throughout the country fighting efforts by government to take property for private benefit.”
The eminent domain cases were pending before the Mississippi Supreme Court, which had stayed all proceedings to allow the property owners to remain in their homes until the case was resolved. But on April 5, 2002, the state of Mississippi announced that Nissan would redesign its truck manufacturing facility in Canton, Mississippi, so that the Archie family could hold on to their land and more than 10 family homes on the property. The state will also withdraw its eminent domain lawsuits against the 24 acres of property owned by the family. The Bouldins, who live deep within the project area, were able to secure a fair settlement from the state and will move to a location nearby in the community. The Bouldins were represented by Attorney James E. Ross, Jr., who also received an award on Sunday night.
The Drum Major for Justice Award was presented to “Scott G. Bullock and the Institute for Justice For the Protection of Private Property Rights in Mississippi.” The awards banquet was held at Mikhail’s Northgate Conference Center in Jackson.