The power of eminent domain can legally be invoked to purchase and clear private property for developer Bruce C. Ratner‘s massive Atlantic Yards project, the New York state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday morning.

Four of the seven judges, in a majority ruling by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, said the state had sufficiently shown that the project area containing the private parcels was “blighted” and subject to condemnation under the state Constitution, although Judge Lippman conceded that definitions of urban blight that were established during the Great Depression may have to be updated.

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