In November 2000, the Mississippi legislature struck a deal with Nissan Motor Co. to build a new auto plant in Canton, Mississippi, about 10 miles north of Jackson. The State provided Nissan more than $290 million in subsidies and tax breaks and also handed over approximately 1,300 acres of land to the automaker. But that wasn’t enough. Buried in the details of the Nissan legislation was the power of the State to use its eminent domain authority to condemn privately owned land not for a public use—such as a bridge, post office or a public school— but to give to Nissan for the construction of the auto plant. In February, the State exercised this power against three property owners who have owned land in Madison County, Mississippi for decades and on which they and their families reside. The State insists that the land, located on the very southern-most tip of the project area, must be handed over to Nissan. The property owners love this land and are not interested in moving.
On Thursday, March 1, 2001, the Institute for Justice will make a major announcement concerning the use of eminent domain for the Nissan plant. The Institute is the nation’s leading legal advocate against eminent domain abuse. Among others joining IJ Senior Attorney Scott Bullock at the news conference will be Stephanie Parker-Weaver of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, who has been working closely with the African-American property owners and Lonzo Archie, who stands to lose his home and property if the State and Nissan get their way. Please join us for lively event about a Mississippi controversy with nationwide implications. The speakers will be available for questions during the news conference.