The taking by a state of the private property of one person or corporation, without the owner's consent, for the private use of another, is not due process of law, and is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
The farmers wanted to build a third grain elevator at a railway station, alleging that the two existing grain elevators had insufficient capacity. The farmers obtained an order from the Nebraska State Board of Transportation directing the railway company to grant the farmers the privilege of erecting a grain elevator at a railway station. The state sought a writ of mandamus from the Nebraska Supreme Court to require the railway company to comply with the board's order, which was granted. The railway company sought review of an order from the Nebraska Supreme Court granting the writ of mandamus.
Did the writ of mandamus constitute a taking in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment?
The court reversed the state supreme court's judgment compelling the railway company to provide the farmers with land at a railway station upon which the farmers would have built a grain elevator. Upon review, the court held that the writ of mandamus enforcing the board's order was a taking in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The court reversed the state supreme court's judgment and remanded the action.