Eminent Domain & Private Property

Class Unique: 28425

In this advanced property-law class, you will learn about eminent domain—the power of the government (and those with its delegated authority) to take private property and convert it into public use in exchange for paying just compensation to the property owner. Most lawyers get just one or two days of class about eminent domain in law school. This course aims to fix that shortcoming.

The subject is fascinating as a matter of theory, as it deals with the power of a tribe (the community) to take property away from its members. And eminent domain is becoming more and more important in practice. Take Texas, for example. The Lone Star State is home to eight of the nation’s 15 fastest-growing cities and boasts five of the top 10 cities in the total number of new residents. The need for infrastructure has skyrocketed, both to accommodate the explosive population growth and to support Texas's ever-expanding oil-and-gas industry. In light of these developments, we as a community need to work out how to deal with growth while still honoring constitutional values and individual rights.

Class discussions and reading assignments will explore whether the current eminent domain framework in the U.S. properly protects property owners and the public. The subject is generally divided into two interrelated parts: (1) the origins of eminent domain, public use, and public necessity and (2) “just compensation," including evidentiary and procedural issues that arise in disputes about compensation. Throughout, the class will explore the relationship between theory and practice.


Class Details

Meeting Days Time Location
Monday 3:45 - 5:35 pm JON 6.206
Evaluation Method Date Time Alpha Range Room
Final 5/14/20

Additional Information

Course Type
Grading Method
Pass/Fail Mandatory