Phillip Suderman · April 3, 2024

ARLINGTON, Va.—The Institute for Justice applauds the Tennessee General Assembly for passing HB 2119, a bill that would 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. The bill now waits to be sent to the Governor to either approve or veto.  

Eminent domain is the process of the government taking private property and converting it to public use. However, that power has been used at times for politically connected individuals and businesses to petition the government to take private property under the guise of economic development in ways that do not benefit the public at large. 

If HB 2119 were signed into law, the government would bear the burden of proving by a preponderance of evidence: 

  • The land, real estate, premises, or other property the condemner seeks to acquire is required for a public use;  
  • The condemner has a plan that reflects a reasonable schedule to complete the public use after the condemner takes ownership of the property;  
  • The condemner has access to funding to complete the public use; and  
  • The public use cannot be accomplished by using or acquiring other property with the consent of the owner of the other property without an unreasonable increase in cost or delay. 

“This is an important step forward in protecting the property rights of the people of Tennessee,” said Lee McGrath, senior legislative counsel for the Institute for Justice. “We now urge Governor Lee to sign this good bill and continue to make Tennessee a leader in promoting individual rights.”  

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

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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: