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Citizens for Home Rule, Inc.

Eminent Domain

"It shall be the policy of Citizens for Home Rule, Inc. (CHR) to actively advocate for defense of individual private property rights against abusive exercise of any governmental power of eminent domain." - Policy statement unanimously adopted by Citizens for Home Rule, Inc. Board of Directors on September 20, 2005

City government is taking neighborhoods all across the country and deeding the property to well-connected developers and big corporations. What some call "progress" looks a lot like "stealing." Check out what's happening to folks in Cincinnati.

KNOXVILLE--July 13, 2005--Property rights group Citizens for Home Rule, Inc. (CHR) announced today that it is formally requesting Gov. Phil Bredesen to adopt a state policy that will stop any condemnation by the State of private property for the purpose of economic development, before it happens.

In a letter to the Governor, the group's president John A. Emison, said he is "alarmed at the unprecedented erosion of private property rights by the U.S. Supreme Courtís recent decision in Kelo v. New London." The ruling allows government at all levels to condemn private property and deed it over to developers or corporations under the guise of "economic development." Emison has asked Gov. Bredesen to adopt and publicly announce a (state) policy that will ensure no one in Tennessee will lose their property by eminent domain to big corporations.

In addition, Emison has called on the Governor to ensure that no other type of eminent domain condemnation be undertaken by the State unless it is both "necessary" and for an "actual public use."

"It is way beyond outrageous that private property is subject to condemnation for the benefit of big business," Emison said today. "Under this new ruling the ugly truth is that reservists returning home from overseas could find a Wal-Mart where their house was when they were called up. It's as un-American as it gets."

Emison said his group will work with members of the General Assembly to get laws on the books that will protect against eminent domain abuse, but that a state constitutional amendment will be the ultimate protection. "Until then, we urge Gov. Bredesen to make it a policy of his Administration that this will not happen in Tennessee."

The group has written similar letters to TVA Chairman Bill Baxter, and to Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam.

Read Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale's Response

". . .the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate. . ."
Tennessee Constitution, Article I, paragraph 6

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