High Court Gives the Go-ahead to Atlantic Yards Seizures


The New York Court of Appeals ruled six to one today that the state can force homeowners to sell their properties using eminent domain in order to clear the way for Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards development. The majority decision stated that the “Constitution accords government broad power to take and clear substandard and insanitary areas for redevelopment.” So, seize away! But the lone dissenting judge, Robert Smith, protested that the court doesn’t have to defer to the Empire State Development Corporation’s assessment that the area is blighted. In his opinion, part of the area designated for seizure “appears … to be a normal and pleasant residential community.” Obviously, some complex constitutional and legal issues were the main concern here, but we wonder whether the court took into consideration that maybe nobody wants to watch the dismal 0–13 Nets play basketball, anyway.

Top court: Eminent domain OK in Ratner’s Nets arena deal [NYP]