Debating the Constitutionality of New York Blight Condemnations

The Fordham Urban Law Journal City Square website has posted a debate between NYU Professor Roderick Hills and myself on the the New York Court of Appeals controversial decisions upholding “blight” condemnations in the Atlantic Yards and Columbia University cases. In my 2011 symposium article “Let there Be Blight,” I argued that these takings violated both the New York state and federal constitutions. I especially emphasized the incompability between the court’s decision defining blight so broadly that virtually any area could qualify with the New York state constitutional provision limiting blight condemnations to “substandard and unsanitary areas.” Hills has written a critique of my analysis. My reply is available here.

Hills is one of the leading property and federalism scholars out there, and I always learn from our exchanges. As I explain near the end of my reply, in this case there may be more areas of agreement between us than initially meet the eye.