October 12th, 2009 — By — In News & Events

Atlantic Yards eminent domain case will be heard by NY Court of Appeals Wednesday

The New York Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in Goldstein, et al. v. New York State Urban Development Corporation d/b/a/ Empire State Development Corporation on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 beginning at 2:00 pm (EST). It is expected that arguments will be available by webcast.

This is a case to watch as it may be the only legal barrier holding developer Forest City Ratner and the ESDC back from seizing private property – occupied residences and small businesses – to construct a proposed mega-arena and mixed use redevelopment project.

OCA New York Member, Mike Rikon, filed an amicus brief in support of the property owners and on behalf of Willets Point United Against Eminent Domain Abuse. In his brief, Rikon argues that the New York State Constitution expressly prohibits the exercise of eminent domain for economic development. Yet, over the years, the meaning of public use has become corrupted to include “public purpose” or “public benefit.” The brief urges the NY Court of Appeals to disregard the Supreme Court’s ruling in Kelo as “…simply wrong in it’s failure to respect the fundamental constitutional right to own property.” (Brief p. 8.) Additionally, it asks the Court of Appeals to follow the decisions of others states that have put an end to this form of eminent domain abuse. (See our previous posts here.)

New York journalist and blogger, Norman Oder, writes in his Atlantic Yards Report today about the upcoming arguments, possible implications, a history of the case and of eminent domain in NY as well as thoughts on how the judges might rule. See his post “The eminent domain battle Wednesday: an easy call for the Court of Appeals of a fresh look at blight, “public purpose,” and relative benefits?” here.

We will be following the arguments (by webcast, hopefully) and posting here Wednesday.

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