Seizing another person’s land is a pretty strong-armed way of doing business. Property owners have often challenged eminent domain in courts, and lawmakers in many states have tried to limit its use. Recent decisions in New York show that the state won’t hesitate to apply the broadest interpretation of the law to make mega-developments happen.
On June 24, the New York Court of Appeals—the state’s highest court—ruled that the state could use eminent domain to acquire property for a Columbia University expansion in West Harlem. The decision overturned a rare December 3 rejection by a lower court. The landowners fighting to keep their property intend to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.