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Eminent Domain   Tags: condemnation, easement, eminent domain, takings  

A legal research guide on the state and federal laws for eminent domain.
Last Updated: Nov 20, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Resources at the State Law Library

Below are some of the library resources that can provide further guidance on this topic. The Texas State Law Library has many other resources in addition to the highlights we present below. Please call us at (512) 463-1722 if you have any questions about these materials.

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Eminent Domain: A handbook of condemnation law - William Scheiderich
Call Number: KF 5599 E468 2011
ISBN: 9781614380986
Publication Date: 2011
This volume from the American Bar Association explores recent developments in eminent domain law. Topics covered include public use and public purpose, compensation, taking damages, severance damages, the litigation process, flooding and erosion, and inverse condemnation. A fifty-state survey of public use standards is also included.

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Bulldozed: "Kelo," Eminent Domain, and the American Lust for Land - Carla T. Main
Call Number: KF 5599 M35 2007
ISBN: 9781594031939
Publication Date: 2007
This book was written to inform the public of the current issues surrounding eminent domain in this country. It starts with the story of the Gore family in Freeport, Texas and then continues to discuss other recent eminent cases including Kelo.

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Eminent Domain Use and Abuse: Kelo in Context - Mary Massaron Ross (Editor)
Call Number: KF 5599 E44 2006
ISBN: 9781590316382
Publication Date: 2006
This title contains ten essays that review the overall impact that Kelo v. City of New London had on permissible public use and eminent domain law in general. A CD-ROM also contains court decisions, parties' briefs, and amicus briefs for Kelo v. City of New London as well as site plans and maps, photographs, and Justice Steven's speech after the Kelo decision.

About This Guide

This guide was created to provide an overview to eminent domain law in the state of Texas. Links to sections of the Texas Constitution, the Texas Government Code, and the Texas Property Code that deal with eminent domain as well as resources that provide "plain English" explanations of the Texas law are provided.

Texas and Federal Law

Below you will find references to areas of the Texas Constitution, Texas Government Code, Texas Property Code and federal law that govern eminent domain and issues related to eminent domain. If you find these statutes difficult to understand, you may want to view the "plain English" resources on this page or speak to an attorney.

  • Texas Constitution art. 1 sec. 17
    Discusses taking, damaging, or destroying property for public use; special privileges and immunities; control of privileges and franchises.
  • Texas Government Code ch. 2206
    Discusses eminent domain specifically limitations on purpose and use of property acquired through eminent domain, procedures required to initiate eminent domain proceedings, and expiration of certain eminent domain authority.
  • Texas Property Code ch. 21
    Discusses eminent domain specifically jurisdiction, procedure, damages and costs, judgment, and repurchase of real property from condemning entity.
  • United States Constitution art. V
    Discusses just compensation for property.

Explained in "Plain English"

Because Texas and federal law may not be easy to understand, below you'll find a collection of resources that help to explain the law in "plain English."

  • 2012 Texas Eminent Domain Laws Made Easy [PDF]
    This publication from the Texas Attorney General provides answers to frequently asked questions about Texas eminent domain laws such as "what is the legal basis for the power of eminent domain" and "who pays the cost of an eminent domain proceeding."
  • Easements in Texas [PDF]
    This publication from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University discusses public easements as well as private easements in Texas.
  • Eminent Domain in Texas
    This page contains links to all the StateImpact Texas stories on eminent domain in Texas.
  • The State of Texas Landowner's Bill of Rights [PDF]
    The State of Texas Landowner's Bill of Rights from the Office of the Attorney General discusses landowners' rights when facing condemnation. From the introduction: "This Landowner’s Bill of Rights applies to any attempt by the government or a private entity to take your property. The contents of this Bill of Rights are prescribed by the Texas Legislature in Texas Government Code Sec. 402.031 and Chapter 21 of the Texas Property Code."
  • Understanding the Condemnation Process in Texas [PDF]
    Condemnation is defined in the summary as "the appropriation of private property by the government against the will of the owner." This publication from the Texas A&M Real Estate Center looks at the legal restraints on condemnation and what to do when confronted with condemnation.

Who Can I Contact?

While most condemnation proceedings take place in court, landowners facing pipeline condemnation may want to review the page below for contact information for the Texas Railroad Commission.


Legal Research Guides from the Texas State Law Library

The Texas State Law Library reference librarians have compiled legal research guides for specific areas of the law. These guides contain resources that can help you research a legal issue. The American Association of Law Libraries has a guide for Non-Lawyers on How to Research a Legal Problem. If you have any questions, please contact us at (512) 463-1722 or at


The information provided on this page has been prepared for general information purposes only and should not be construed as, nor substituted for, legal advice. It is strongly recommended that you contact an attorney for advice specific to your fact situation. Your local bar association or the State Bar of Texas Lawyer Referral Information Service (1-800-252-9690) can assist you with locating an attorney.

Some of the electronic resources we refer to in this guide may be in PDF format. Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view PDFs.

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