Atlantic Yards Project Reaches NYS High Court

This afternoon, the state's highest court will hear from tenants and property owners in the footprint of the state-backed Atlantic Yards project. They're challenging the legality of the Brooklyn development. WNYC's Matthew Schuerman has this preview.

REPORTER: The state's constitution, like the federal one, says government can take private property only if it's for public use. But the definition of public use is up for interpretation.

The tenants and property owners pressing this case say the benefits to the public should outweigh the profits to the developer- but, they say, the state never bothered to make that calculation when it came to Atlantic Yards.

Lawyers for the state are arguing that a 1938 amendment to the state constitution makes that point moot, since it allows eminent domain to be used for slum clearance.

A decision is expected in the next four to six weeks, and if it favors the opponents, it could doom the project. But the plaintiffs lost a similar series of cases in federal courts. For WNYC, I'm Matthew Schuerman.