|David Sive, Esq.|
David Sive at his home in Margaretville, NY
|Born||September 22, 1922
Brooklyn, New York
|Died||March 12, 2014
West Orange, New Jersey
|Alma mater||Brooklyn College
Columbia Law School
|Occupation||Environmentalist, lawyer, professor|
David Sive (September 22, 1922 – March 12, 2014) was an attorney, environmentalist, and professor of environmental law, who has been recognized as a pioneer in the field of United States environmental law.
Sive was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on September 22, 1922, the son of Abraham Sive and Rebecca (née Schwartz) Sive. As a teenager his growing love for the outdoors and fascination with the American wilderness, as well as his interest in the writings of Thoreau, Emerson and Wordsworth, led him to a lifelong passion for the natural environment, to wilderness preservation and environmental protection. Hiking and camping expeditions during his college years, to the Catskill and Adirondack mountains of upstate New York, foreshadowed his advocacy in later years for the “forever wild” clause in the New York State constitution and his activism for environmental preservation in his home state and throughout the U.S.
Sive graduated from Brooklyn College with a degree in political science in 1943, and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942 and was called up in the spring of 1943 shortly before his college graduation. He served in the front lines in Europe, including in the Battle of the Bulge, was wounded twice and awarded the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster. Convalescence at a U.S. Army hospital in Devon, England gave him further opportunity to study the verse of William Wordsworth and other poets who revered the natural world, and to establish what was to become a lifelong commitment to environmental preservation. Sive enrolled at Columbia Law School following his discharge from the Army in the fall of 1945. He received the Bachelor of Laws degree and was recognized as a Harlan Fiske Stone scholar in 1948.
One of Sive's first lawsuits that gained public attention was David Sive v. Louis Newman (1951). In this case, Sive argued that the owner of a car that is double-parked is liable for damage incurred to car traveling from the curb to the normal traffic stream. The argument was upheld and set precedence for a new liability for double-parked cars in Manhattan.
As a partner in the firm Winer, Neuberger and Sive, founded in New York City in 1962, and a director of the Sierra Club in the 1960s, Sive developed his reputation as an expert litigator and fierce defender of the environment. The successor firm, Sive, Paget & Riesel, remains to this day the nation’s leading law firm specializing in environmental law.
Among the many landmark cases Sive argued were Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference v. Federal Power Commission (Storm King Mountain Case, 1971), concerning a proposed hydroelectric project along the shores of the Hudson River, and in which the court ensured that adequate steps were taken to maintain the scenic integrity of the Storm King Mountain area in New York’s Hudson Valley region. Other notable cases included Committee for Nuclear Responsibility, Inc. v. Schlesinger, (1971) argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, which attracted wide media attention to the issue of governmental underground nuclear bomb testing and its potential environmental effects at Amchitka Island, Alaska; Concerned About Trident, Inc. v Rumsfeld (1976), which established that strategic military decisions are not exempt from compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act; and Mohonk Trust v. Board of Assessors of Town of Gardiner (1979): a real property case that on appeal established that land owned by a trust for environmental preservation and use could be exempt from real property taxes.
Sive taught litigation and environmental law for many years at Columbia Law School, and also taught environmental law as a visiting faculty member at the Universities of Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Utah, Hawaii, Colorado and Washington. He joined the faculty of Pace University Law School in 1995; the Pace Law Library houses the David Sive Manuscript Collection, for students and scholars of environmental law.
Sive was a leader and activist with a number of environmental organizations. He was a founding member of Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s leading public interest law firm in this specialty, and of the Environmental Law Institute. Sive was also among the lawyers representing the Sierra Club when the Internal Revenue Service abruptly ended the Club's tax-exempt status in 1966. That move had the quite unintended effect of turning Sierra Club into the nationally known organization it remains and vastly increasing its membership. Sive subsequently served on the Club's Board of Directors. as a founder of Environmental Advocates of New York, as a contributing founder of Friends of the Earth, and as a member of the board of directors of the Hudson Valley Institute and Scenic Hudson, and as multi-year chair of the annual ALI-ABA Conference on Environmental Law. He was the recipient of many awards, from the Environmental Law Institute, the New York State Environmental Planning Lobby, the Sierra Club, the New York State Bar Association, The Nature Conservancy, the New York State Parks and Conservation Association, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and others. He was a prolific author and lecturer on the topics of environmental law and litigation.
- Reinhold, Robert (April 29, 1988). "The Law; Coming of Age of the Environmental Lawyer". The New York Times (New York, NY). Retrieved August 13, 2014.
- "In Remembrance: David Sive, Environmental Lawyer - Law Blog - WSJ". Blogs.wsj.com. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
- Stashenko, Joel (March 13, 2014). "David Sive, Pioneer in Environmental Law, Dies at 91". New York Law Journal (New York, NY: ALM). Retrieved August 13, 2014.
- Sive, David (August 16, 1941). "Letter to the Sports Editor: Shifting the Emphasis". The New York Times (New York, NY). Retrieved August 14, 2014.
- Inghram, Joseph (May 6, 1951). "Court Ruling Here Strikes New Blow at Double Parking". The New York Times (New York, NY). Retrieved August 14, 2014.
- "Report of Automobile Insurance Law Committee". Ins. Counsel J. 18: 354. October 1951. Retrieved March 17, 2014.
- "David Sive Environmental Law Collection". Pace Law Library. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
- Committee for Nuclear Responsibility, Inc. v. James R. Schledinger, 404 U.S. 917 (November 6, 1971).
- Concerned about Trident v. Rumsfeld, No. 75-1515 (D.C. Cir. October 13, 1971).
- Mohonk Trust, v. Board of Assessors of Town of Gardiner, 47 N.Y.2d 476 (1979).
- Philippidis, Alex (May 1, 1995). "Environmental law pioneer sees urgent need for civility". Westchester County Business Journal 34 (18): 3. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
- "Closing Statement: Four Leaders Who Are Still Leaving a Legacy of Accomplishment". Environmental Forum 28 (6): 60. 2011.
- "Roster of Sierra Club Directors" (PDF). The Sierra Club. Retrieved March 17, 2014.
- Carlson, Ann E. (1998). "Standing for the Environment," 45 UCLA L. Rev. 931.
- Houck, Oliver A. (2004). "More Unfinished Stories: Lucas, Atlanta Coalition, and Palila/Sweet Home," 75 U. Colo. L. Rev. 331, fn.1 ("In the late 1960s, Mr. Sive represented plaintiffs in the seminal administrative standing and environmental cases surrounding Storm King Mountain. See Oliver A. Houck, "Unfinished Stories," 73 U. Colo. L. Rev. 867 (2002). Mr. Sive went on to become a leader of the environmental law movement, annual Chair of the annual ALI/ABA Conference on Environmental Law in Washington, D.C., and a perceptive analyst and scholar. Retired from practice, he currently teaches at Pace Law School.")
- Video: David Sive gives a brief history of his law firm, Sive Paget & Riesel on YouTube
- David Sive Manuscript Collection, Pace Law School Library
- SCENIC HUDSON COLLECTION: RECORDS RELATING TO THE STORM KING CASE 1963-1981 In the Archives and Special Collections at Marist College
- Sive, Paget & Riesel, PC
- William H. Rodgers, Jr., The Most Creative Moments in the History of Environmental Law: The Who’s, Washburn Law Journal
- Interview with David Sive, Rutgers Oral History Archive
- Photos from Concerned About Trident v Rumsfeld