DDDB Makes a Federal Case out of it

Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn filed its eminent domain lawsuit today on behalf of 10 plaintiffs, and it reveals two essential parts of the opposition’s legal strategy to fight Atlantic Yards.

For one, far from trying to battle last year’s Kelo v. New London all the way up to a U.S. Supreme Court re-hearing–which would not be preposterous given the popular backlash–the plaintiffs will use the 5-4 decision to its advantage. In the Kelo case, New London, Justice Stevens wrote, “has carefully formulated an economic development plan that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community.” By contrast, DDDB’s attorney Matthew Brinckerhoff said at the press conference today, Atlantic Yards “was driven entirely by Bruce Ratner” and Atlantic Yards is a case of the government “taking private property in order to enrich a private developer.”

In other words, it will be a case about one of our favorite subjects: urban planning.

Two, the plaintiffs are first filing in federal, rather than state, court, and before eminent domain procedures actually have begun (“because otherwise it would be too late,” Brinckerhoff said), which also suggests they feel Kelo will work for them, while New York state’s notoriously developer-friendly laws will not.

Forest City Ratner says in response: “This is simply a sad attempt to delay a project that is supported by over 60 percent of Brooklyn.”

Matthew Schuerman

Article continues below
More from Politics
STAR OF DAVID OR 'PLAIN STAR'?   If you thought "CP Time" was impolitic, on July 2 Donald Trump posted a picture on Twitter of a Star of David on top of a pile of cash next to Hillary Clinton's face. You'd think after the aforementioned crime stats incident (or after engaging a user called "@WhiteGenocideTM," or blasting out a quote from Benito Mussolini, or...) Trump would have learned to wait a full 15 seconds before hitting the "Tweet" button. But not only was the gaffe itself bad, the attempts at damage control made the BP oil spill response look a virtuoso performance.  About two hours after the image went up on Trump's account, somebody took it down and replaced it with a similar picture that swapped the hexagram with a circle (bearing the same legend "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!"!). Believe it or not, it actually got worse from there. As reports arose that the first image had originated on a white supremacist message board, Trump insisted that the shape was a "sheriff's star," or "plain star," not a Star of David. And he continued to sulk about the coverage online and in public for days afterward, even when the media was clearly ready to move on. This refusal to just let some bad press go would haunt him later on.
Donald Trump More Or Less Says He’ll Keep On Tweeting as President