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  • The Rise of Robert Moses and the Fall of New York Constitutional Protections Against Eminent Domain

    As a safeguard against the forced taking of private property at the hands of the government, the New York Constitution is dead. I do not, however, lay its demise at the feet of the recent New York Court of Appeals decisions in the Columbia University and Atlantic Yards controversies. Rather, an examination of the arc of eminent domain law over the last 150 years reveals that the constitutional protections largely expired starting in the 1930s, a development that coincided with Robert Moses’s four-decade campaign of bulldozing around New York State, through New York City, and over anyone who stood in his way.