NYSBA Wants Commission To Study Eminent Domain: North Country Gazette (Chestertown NY), 4/4/06

The president of the New York State Bar Association [NYSBA] has called on the Legislature to establish a commission to study all proposed amendments to the laws regarding eminent domain in New York, and not to make any changes to existing law or amend the law regarding the purposes under which the government can take property - until the study is complete.

In testimony before the state Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, NYSBA president A. Vincent Buzard of Rochester said "The law in this area is too complicated to amend piecemeal. Resolving issues involving eminent domain will best be accomplished through study by a Temporary State Commission on Eminent Domain to assure that all viewpoints are represented and that all the issues involved in this area of the law receive careful consideration," said Buzard.

In his written testimony, he added that: "Kelo is based on established legal precedent, it is not a revolutionary departure from existing law, and, in fact, would have been decided the same under New York law."

The position of the association stems from a report issued by its Task Force on Eminent Domain, which Buzard appointed in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. City of New London. The task force was formed to provide legal analysis and recommendations concerning appropriate legislative and regulatory considerations in the practice of eminent domain law.

The association's House of Delegates (the Association's policymaking and governing body), adopted the full report, and it is now the official position of the New York State Bar Association.

"In addition, our position is that unwarranted attacks on the Supreme Court's Kelo decision are based on misunderstanding, that they undermine public confidence in the judiciary, and are inappropriate," Buzard said.

Seven other areas of study, including the right of property owners to challenge the taking of their property for public purposes, were also adopted as recommendations of the Task Force by the House of Delegates.

North Country Gazette: http://www.northcountrygazette.org