Eminent Domain Ruling Affects Dallas Cowboys Stadium

Last week’s ruling in the Kelo eminent domain case will be affecting Arlington, Texas residents whose houses are in the way of the Dallas Cowboys’ new stadium construction.

Stadium Eminent Domain Imminent for Homeowners (DMN)

The Arlington City Council is expected to authorize on Tuesday eminent domain proceedings against as many as 19 properties needed for a new Dallas Cowboys stadium and approve resolutions paving the way for 33 more condemnations in the coming weeks.

Mayor Robert Cluck said the properties are owned by individuals who are either unwilling to sell or are demanding an unreasonable price for their homes or lots. Some have not responded to the city’s offers, he said, and a few would not allow city negotiators on their property. “If they can’t make reasonable counteroffers,” Dr. Cluck said, “we have to use this tool.” City officials said they would continue to negotiate with property owners through Tuesday to try to avoid the need for condemnation. However, Dr. Cluck said, some homeowners are unlikely to settle without legal action.

The city’s announcement came a day after the U.S. Supreme Court released a decision confirming that cities have wide latitude in condemning property for economic development purposes. That decision, which Dr. Cluck said didn’t affect the timing of next week’s votes, means that federal appeals of condemnations for the stadium in Arlington are unlikely.

Robert Magnus, whose house is on the condemnation list, said he was unaware of the City Council’s vote next week, but he’s not surprised. He had hoped that the Supreme Court would help him with its Kelo v. New London case. Mr. Magnus would not say how much the city has offered him for the house he’s owned for two years, but he said it wasn’t enough to pay off his mortgage. “They are just giving me pennies and telling me to get out,” he said.

City officials said they are required to pay fair market value for the properties, and in addition, they are offering incentives ranging from $5,250 for renters to $22,500 for homeowners who agree to accept an offer and move quickly. Also, some moving expenses would be paid by the city.

Glenn Sodd, a Corsicana attorney specializing in eminent domain cases, could not be reached for comment Friday. He has said that he represents the owners of 15 homes and lots and four apartment complexes that are on the stadium site and that he would take the cases to the state Supreme Court if necessary.

Making people give up their homes in order that a football team can play eight home games a year is almost certainly not what the Constitution’s Framers had in mind. I’ve been a Cowboys fan since the mid-1970s and am glad to see them get a new stadium. But, surely, Jerry Jones has enough money to pay off the homeowners.


FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Sports, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Fersboo says:

    The first of many to come? I truly hope a firestorm will come and cleanse the Politicracy of their stupidity. A curse on both parties.

  2. jwb says:

    A subtle protest would be for some city or town to seize the local Home Depot and turn it into an orphanage, homeless shelter, farmers’ market, or other populist hangout. Somebody has to provide a counterbalance to these land-grabbing fat cats.

  3. Just Me says:

    But the Supremes said as long as the city has a plan and it will raise tax revenues for the city, that it is okay.

    This is an example of just how wrongheaded this decision was. The big business and towns can afford to hire attorneys, while the little guy probably can’t afford much of an attorney, and even if he can, as long as the city has a plan, he doesn’t have much of a chance of saving his property.

  4. If someone refuses to sell for any amount of money, Jerry Jones’ wealth isn’t relevant.

  5. Henry says:

    There’s an effort to impeach the five justices who have destroyed the original meaning of the constitution:


  6. Mike says:

    Keep these type of rulings in mind the next time you vote. Forget about the two party system, and vote third party ~ vote for reform ~ vote to get your country back! And don’t forget that the Governor’s race is coming up soon. Kinky Friedman for Governor!