Document Type

Student Article


Property rights are traditionally held sacred in Texas. But through eminent domain, landowners lose their property rights, purportedly in service of the broader public. Sometimes, the legislature confers eminent domain power on for-profit companies. Landowners are then forced to surrender their property while the companies benefit economically. The result is that landowners are stripped of the right to fully use and enjoy their property.

The recent Texas Supreme Court case, Miles v. Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure, Inc., demonstrates the tension between property rights and economic development created by eminent domain. Facially, Miles concerns whether a for-profit company’s high-speed rail qualifies as an interurban rail or railroad for purposes of eminent domain authority. But like many cases involving eminent domain, Miles is really about power: who has it, where it comes from, and what happens to those who do not have it. This Article functions as a starting point for reexamining how the Texas Legislature can better balance the scales between a landowner’s property rights and the economic benefits of eminent domain.



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