It is truly a sad (and despicable and dangerous) state of affairs when New York's judicial branch
admits that it has explicitly turned itself into a bystander when it comes to the 5th Amendment (perhaps the SCOTUS will have something else to say about this soon).
The following is a concurring opinion in a unanimous Appellate Division ruling against property owners challenging New York City's use of eminent domain for private gain in East Harlem:
It should be noted that Catterson's concurrence is a none too subtle mega-tweak of New York state's highest court.
Decided on October 12, 2010
Mazzarelli, J.P., Sweeny, Catterson, Renwick, Manzanet-Daniels, JJ.
In re Uptown Holdings, LLC, et al., Petitioners,
City of New York, et al., Respondents.
...CATTERSON, J. (concurring)
In my view, the record amply demonstrates that the neighborhood in question is not blighted, that whatever blight exists is due to the actions of the City and/or is located far outside the project area, and that the justification of under-utilization is nothing but a canard to aid in the transfer of private property to a developer. Unfortunately for the rights of the citizens affected by the proposed condemnation, the recent rulings of the Court of Appeals in Matter of Goldstein v. New York State Urban Dev. Corp., 13 NY3d 511, 893 N.Y.S.2d 472, 921 N.E.2d 164 (2009) and Matter of Kaur v. New York State Urban Dev. Corp., 15 NY3d 235, —- N.E.2d —— (2010), have made plain that there is no longer any judicial oversight of eminent domain proceedings. Thus, I am compelled to concur with the majority.
The question is begged: if New York courts aren't going to do their job when it comes to powerful interests taking New Yorkers' homes and businesses, and New York's elected officials are happy to pretend this isn't a problem, what is a New Yorker supposed to do?