To us dirt lawyers, Penn Central is synonymous with Penn Central Transportation Co. v. City of New York, 438 U.S. 194 (1978), the landmark non-case in which the U.S. Supreme Court proclaimed itself “simply unable” to say what are the elements of a regulatory inverse condemnation action, but went ahead and decided the case anyway. In the process, it produced incomprehemsible verbiage that has confused the law and that prevents lawyers from understanding precisely what they are supposed to present by way of evidence to make out their clients’ case. Worse, as U.S. Court of Appeal judge James L. Oakes put it in a law review article, it enables judges to reach whatever result thay want.
Today’s New York Times carries an article by Sam Roberts, on a different aspect of Grand Central Terminal, entitled 100 Years of Grandeur: The Birth of Grand Central Terminal, Jan. 18, 2013 — click here It should be of interest to Penn Central junkies. It’s a story about the construction of Grand Central Terminal and the men who designed and built it. It’s a good read that should be perused by lawyers interested in the Grand Central case, if only for general background.
And to give ourselves a self-promoting toot on our horn, if you wish to become a true Penn Central junkie, you should also read our own contribution to the Grand Central’s moden legal history: Gideon Kanner, Making Laws and Sausages — A Quarter Century Retrospective on Penn Central Transportation Co. v. City of New York, 13 William & Mary Bill Rts. Jour. 679 (2005). Go for it! What have you got tto lose?