Justin Hodge was interviewed on Fox26 news about the Texas Supreme Court’s recent approval of eminent domain for the high speed train between Houston and Dallas, Texas. You can watch the interview here:
The eminent domain project impacts landowners in Harris, Waller, Grimes, Walker, Madison, Leon, Freestone, Limestone, Navarro, Ellis, and Dallas Counties. Texas Central may file condemnation against many landowners in these counties.
To read the Texas Supreme Court’s opinion in Miles vs. Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure, Inc. and Texas Logistics, Inc., please follow this link: https://www.txcourts.gov/media/1454463/200393.pdf.
Justin Young’s concurring opinion, referenced by Mr. Hodge in the interview can be found here: https://www.txcourts.gov/media/1454465/200393c2.pdf
Justice Young explained, “Eminent-domain power has repeatedly been called one of the most “awesome” powers of government. “Scary” is another fitting term. The very words eminent domain and condemnation sound foreboding, and they should. They represent the sovereign’s power to unilaterally strip individuals of property rights—rights that may have been gained at great cost. Condemnation is an extraordinary intrusion that often destroys homes, scars farmland that generations have cultivated, disrupts thriving businesses, and far more. It is an act of force by the government that uneasily coexists with the strong protection of individual property rights that Texas law guarantees. We have described “the fundamental right of property” as being “among the most important [rights] in Texas law.”
On occasion, to serve a public purpose, a citizen’s private property must be taken without his consent. We tolerate such intrusions because society cannot function without roads, schools, military facilities, and other vital infrastructure. Eminent domain also requires “just” or “adequate” compensation, to be sure. U.S. Const. amend. V; Tex. Const. art. I, § 17(a). But the condemnation process is complicated, time- consuming, and sometimes confusing. And no compensation can accurately value the sweat, tears, pride, love, beauty, and history that, for some property at least, is its chief value. A given exercise of eminent domain may turn out to be all for nothing, too. Grand plans can fail. Property may therefore be permanently damaged without purpose . . .