"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Sunday, July 08, 2018

A "Monumental" Video of Grand Central Terminal in New York City (as once saved by a U.S. Supreme Court decision on NYC Landmarks Law) (or) Choose Your Justices Wisely

"... the historical and cultural foundations of the Nation should be preserved as a living part of our community life and development in order to give a sense of orientation to the American people," [emphasis added by LawPundit]

In retrospectively assessing the goodness of U.S. Supreme Court Justices, Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City, 438 U.S. 104 (1978) is an interesting precedential case on regulatory takings ...

Excerpt from a Grand Central Terminal video transcript (as cited below) .... :

"The preservation battle to keep [Grand Central Terminal] standing was extremely important in the history of historic preservation generally. It was a Supreme Court decision that upholding New York City's Landmarks Preservation Law kept the terminal standing."

Read about the U.S. Supreme Court decision at the New York Times at Tower Over Grand Central Barred As Court Upholds Landmarks Law
and
Watch the Grand Central Video at Architectural Digest ....

The "good guys" who saved Grand Central Terminal from private property greed and doctrine and from sheer architectural folly were majority Justices
Justice Brennan, Justice Stewart, Justice White, Justice Marshall, Justice Blackmun, and Justice Powell.

The majority opinion was written by Justice William J. Brennan Jr.,whose opinion footnotes 1 and 2 (here excerpted) read as follows:

"[Footnote 1]

.... Congress has determined that "the historical and cultural foundations of the Nation should be preserved as a living part of our community life and development in order to give a sense of orientation to the American people," [ "hear, hear !" emphasis added by Lawpundit] National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, 80 Stat. 915, 16 U.S.C. § 470(b) (1976 ed.), and has enacted a series of measures designed to encourage preservation of sites and structures of historic, architectural, or cultural significance....

[Footnote 2]
Over one-half of the buildings listed in the Historic American Buildings Survey, begun by the Federal Government in 1933, have been destroyed. [emphasis added by Lawpundit] See Costonis, The Chicago Plan: Incentive Zoning and the Preservation of Urban Landmarks, 85 Harv.L.Rev. 574, 574 n. 1 (1972), citing Huxtable, Bank's Building Plan Sets Off Debate on "Progress," N.Y. Times, Jan. 17, 1971, section 8, p. 1, col. 2. 


The "bad guys" in the case were Justice Rehnquist in dissent, as joined by Chief Justice Burger and Justice Stevens.

"Conservative" well-meant intentions, especially regarding the "proper" extent of "property" rights, do not always lead to good results.

In this case, it was the liberal wing of the Supreme Court who saved the wondrous architecture of U.S. traditional past for posterity, not the right wing.

One must be careful in choosing Supreme Court Justices. The Justices must protect the rights of all, not just the rights of the few.

As a political centrist, we are " Just sayin' ".