New Jersey is a hotbed of eminent domain activity and could be the source of the next U.S. Supreme Court case on eminent domain — a case that would redefine and clarify the Court’s Kelo decision, according to a recent New York Times article. In that story, which appeared on Sunday, May 28, Ted Zangari, who co-chairs the Sills Cummis redevelopment practice group, was prominently quoted.
“The post-Kelo case I see going to the U.S. Supreme Court one of these days, and it could very well be a case from New Jersey,” said Ted Zangari, a Newark lawyer who represents developers, “would be one involving a hastily hatched redevelopment designation intended to benefit a developer who’s a benefactor of some local politician.”
The story also noted Zangari’s view that the Court, in its 5-4 decision in the Kelo case, expressed lingering reservations about redevelopment deals, which are crucial to New Jersey because the state has so little undeveloped land suitable for initial development.
The article noted that New Jersey has far more “current controversies” involving eminent domain than its neighboring states, and pointed out that more than 70 municipalities have designated “areas in need of redevelopment” which confers the power of eminent domain on local officials since the state started requiring notice of these declarations in 2003. Others carved out redevelopment zones earlier and could still act on them.