On April 28, 2021, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the case of PennEast Pipeline LLC v. New Jersey. In this case, the Court will address the conflict between state sovereign immunity secured to the states by the Eleventh Amendment and the Federal Natural Gas Act which authorizes certain private actors to exercise Federal eminent domain power.
In this case, PennEast Pipeline used the Act to take forty-two New Jersey properties in order to build a pipeline. New Jersey fought the taking, arguing that PennEast was not appropriately authorized under the Act and even if the authorization were appropriate, sovereign immunity applied.
The District Court sided with PennEast, finding the exercise of eminent domain was authorized. The Third Circuit disagreed, holding that even though the authorization under the Act was appropriate, the Act does not abrogate state sovereign immunity. The Supreme Court takes up the question whether the Natural Gas Act does delegate federal eminent domain power and if so, whether that delegation removes Eleventh Amendment state sovereign immunity.
Hon. Paul D. Clement, Partner, Kirland & Ellis LLP
Moderator: Roger J. Marzulla, Partner, Marzulla Law
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