Phillip Suderman · April 23, 2024


CONTACT: Phillip Suderman, [email protected], (850) 376-4110

ARLINGTON, Va.—The Institute for Justice applauds Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee for signing HB 2119, a bill that will codify the right for a property owner to ask a court if the use of eminent domain is truly necessary to accomplish a public use.

Eminent domain is the process of the government taking private property and converting it to public use. However, without any legal restraints, condemners will sometimes take more property than they actually need for the stated public use. If the property isn’t needed for the stated public use, then it’s being taken for something other than the public use the Constitution demands. By requiring condemners to show necessity and giving courts the power to consider legal objections, Tennessee is taking an important step in protecting people from abuse.

With HB 2119 now signed into law, the government will bear the burden of proving by a preponderance of evidence that the land, real estate, premises, or other property the condemner seeks to acquire is required for public use. The government must also prove the public use cannot be accomplished by using or acquiring other property within the vicinity of the condemned property with the consent of the owner of the other property without an unreasonable increase in cost, delay, or a reduction in the effectiveness of the property.

“This is an important step forward in protecting the property rights of the people of Tennessee,” said Dana Berliner, senior vice president and litigation director for the Institute for Justice. “We applaud Governor Lee for signing this important bill that will protect the individual rights of Tennessee’s residents.”

The Institute for Justice

The Institute for Justice is the national law firm for liberty. Since 1991, IJ has worked to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans. IJ is the nation’s leader in litigating eminent domain cases, including Kelo v. New London.

To arrange interviews on this subject, journalists may contact Phillip Suderman, IJ’s Communications Project Manager, at [email protected], (850) 376-4110. More information on IJ’s work on eminent domain is available at: