We're talking about taking taxpaying private properties and transferring them to a non-profit which will not pay taxes, and will turn a large swathe of Manhattan into a quasi-compound for some of the wealthiest and most privileged people in the city.
Which is, of course, the most sick-making aspect. I am not against eminent domain for public uses like hospitals or railroads. But by no stretch of the imagination could Columbia University be called a public accommodation. One's gut and one's social conscience rebel at the seizure of private property which is taken precisely because it serves, or is owned by, poorer people. One's gut and one's social conscience positively riot at the thought of taking this seized land and handing it over to wealthy private institution that almost exclusively serves the affluent class.
I don't understand why this is an issue that only fires up libertarians. Can't we all agree that it would be better to live in a world where Columbia cannot do this sort of thing? I guess not, though.
Here's a statement from one of the litigants:
My family is profoundly disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear our case. This is truly a dark day for all Americans who care about the sanctity of private property rights. It is my hope that the loss by my family and the West Harlem community to the greed of Columbia University shall be looked upon as a clarion call to the citizens of our country that what has transpired here cannot be allowed to occur in other places. Americans must stand together and demand louder and more forcefully than ever that we be reunited with the basic civil right of true ownership of our homes and businesses. Until then, no one should feel safe from the collusion of unethical politicians and their favored private beneficiaries.
Background on the case here.