As expected, NYRI strikes back against the state law intended to remove its powers of eminent domain.
"It's unconstitutional for the legislature to pass a law that targets one person or company, or singles them out for different treatment," [power line project manager William] May said.
That may be true, and certainly is a good argument. . . . It might even persuade a court . . . But let's not lose sight of the forest by focusing on the trees.
The power of eminent domain is a government power, not a private one. It must be used to promote the public interest. And this is what makes this matter different from the usual "violation of equal protection of laws" situation. NYRI only had the power of eminent domain because the legislature, at one time, gave it that power. Obviously, the legislature has changed its mind.
"The law seeks to punish NYRI for proposing a project that is intended to meet a public need," . . . May said.
No, the law seeks to prevent NYRI from creating a public harm.
While NYRI can argue that it is fulfilling a public need, it is the legislature's prerogative (not a private corporation's) to determine whether the exercise of its power will serve the public interest. It arguably could even be a violation of the separation of powers doctrine for a court to decide otherwise.
And when talking about what is or is not Constitutional, let's not lose sight of from where the Government gets Its power: WE THE PEOPLE.
While multinational corporations seem to be remaking laws world-wide to suit their liking, and while they seem to be aided and abetted by many elected and non-elected officials (maybe even at the highest legislative, executive and judicial branches in this country), ultimately, under our Constitution, the will of the people must prevail.
And when the government no longer derives its powers from the consent of the governed: "it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. . . . "