On the first of February, 2008, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the condemnation and subsequent development of several Brooklyn properties in Vanderbilt Yards that were obstructing the construction of a new stadium for the New Jersey Nets. The rationale behind the decision in Goldstein v. Pataki derives from the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause, which holds that “private property [shall not] be taken for public use without just compensation.” The new construction project would bring a National Basketball Association franchise to Brooklyn, theoretically raising the tax revenue and creating more jobs, alongside sixteen high-rise apartments and several office buildings. The properties were eligible for condemnation due to repeated blight condemnations issued to them by the City of New York. The properties could not be considered to be for the public benefit because developer Bruce Ratner and his company Forest City Ratner (FCR), who took the lead on the project, benefited directly from their work and collaborated with the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) to have the properties condemned.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected the strong case against Ratner and other government officials and departments involved in the Atlantic Yards project due predominantly to one of the most notorious cases of eminent domain abuse in recent public memory, Kelo v. The City of New London. This Note will argue that the precedent of the Kelo and Goldstein decisions, in tandem with weak blight standards, puts New York homeowners at risk of eminent domain abuse.