Monday, December 13, 2010

Supreme Court refuses to hear appeal in Columbia eminent domain case

The effort to get the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal on the eminent domain ruling in the Columbia University expansion has been denied, without comment.

Thus the court passes for now on the opportunity to clarify the meaning and legacy of its controversial 5-4 Kelo vs. New London decision in 2005.

While the federal appellate court hearing an appeal in the Atlantic Yards litigation interpreted Kelo quite narrowly, denying the challenge, courts in other states have used language in Kelo to more closely examine the actions of governmental agencies pursuing eminent domain.

The Supreme Court also passes on an opportunity to pronounce on eminent domain law as practiced in New York State, seen as an outlier among states, given that all challenges start in the state's appellate division, with no opportunity for testimony under oath, further evidence-gathering, or cross-examination.

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