Fair Enough for Government Work


Yesterday a federal judge ruled that New York's old Eminent Domain Procedure Law, so ridiculously rigged in the government's favor that popular outrage prompted the legislature to change it last year, nevertheless was fair enough to satisfy the 14th Amendment's requirement of due process. The Institute for Justice reports that U.S. District Judge Harold Baer upheld the Village of Port Chester's condemnation of four commercial buildings owned by William Brody, which the government has decided would be put to better use as a supermarket parking lot. Under the eminent domain procedures that existed at the time of the condemnation, Brody received no direct notice and had no meaningful opportunity to contest the forced transfer of his property. In its press release, I.J. (which represents Brody) notes:

The only notice Brody received about his one opportunity to challenge the condemnation of his property was a tiny legal notice in a newspaper….The ad made no reference to Brody or his address. It didn't say that he was losing any rights. In fact, it didn't say anything that would tell an ordinary person that he should do anything at all.

I.J. plans to appeal Baer's decision.