This morning, the Supreme Courtroom heard oral arguments in Tyler v. Hennepin County, an vital Takings Clause case involving the follow of “dwelling fairness theft,” underneath which native governments can seize the whole worth of a property with the intention to repay a a lot smaller delinquent property tax debt. Geraldine Tyler, the plaintiff within the case, is a 94-year-old widow whose dwelling, valued at $40,000, was seized by the County authorities after she was unable to repay $15,000 in property taxes, penalties, curiosity, and charges. The County then proceeded to maintain the whole $40,000 for itself, as Minnesota state regulation permits it to do. Tyler contends this violates the Takings Clause of the Fifth Modification, which requires the federal government to pay “simply compensation” anytime it takes personal property. I went over the problems within the case here.
Takings Clause circumstances usually divide opinion alongside predictable left-right ideological strains. Strikingly, nonetheless, this case contains a broad cross-ideological coalition supporting the property proprietor. Ilya Shapiro of the Manhattan Institute (reminder: he’s a different person from me), has a helpful summary of the wide selection of teams submitting amicus briefs supporting Tyler:
Progressive teams such because the Constitutional Accountability Heart are aligned with conservative teams such because the Claremont Institute’s Heart for Constitutional Jurisprudence. The American Civil Liberties Union is on a short with the Cato Institute. The Nationwide Taxpayers Union Basis, AARP, Chamber of Commerce, Nationwide Affiliation of Residence Builders, Nationwide Affiliation of Realtors, Nationwide Shopper Legislation Heart, and Public Citizen have all weighed in to assist Tyler, as have incapacity advocates and 4 of Minnesota’s congressional representatives. Hennepin County, in the meantime, is supported primarily by state and municipal governments and associated associations.
My group, the Manhattan Institute, joined the Buckeye Institute, the Nationwide Federation of Impartial Enterprise, and three different teams on a brief supporting Tyler.
I not often agree with both the AARP or the right-wing Claremont Institute on a lot of something. However on this case, I discover myself within the extremely uncommon place of agreeing with each of them concurrently. The AARP brief, specifically, is totally proper to level out that aged owners of modest means are notably weak to dwelling fairness theft, particularly those that additionally undergo from declining well being and psychological capability.
A lot of the political left has an extended historical past of hostility to judicial safety of property rights. However this concern is clearly an exception. For his or her half, many conservatives have turned against property rights on a variety of issues, in recent years. However not right here.
As Shapiro notes, nearly all of the amicus briefs supporting the federal government in Tyler have been filed by native authorities and tax assortment pursuits, who’ve an apparent narrowly self-interested stake within the concern.
It is price noting that solely three states joined an amicus brief supporting Hennepin County, one in every of which is the state of Minnesota, the place the county is situated. There are twelve states with laws authorizing home equity theft, plus the District of Columbia. The opposite 9 have been apparently unwilling to weigh in to assist their very own legal guidelines. Apparently, a a lot bigger group of states—eight in all—filed an amicus brief supporting the property proprietor. It is uncommon to see state governments taking the aspect of property homeowners in takings circumstances, as that limits the states’ personal powers.
I ought to emphasize that the lopsided division of amicus briefs does not by itself show that Tyler deserves to win. A extremely unpopular minority view can typically be proper on the deserves. On this case, nonetheless, the Takings Clause argument for the property proprietor may be very robust, and a call the opposite approach would set a harmful precedent.
I’ll submit an evaluation of the oral argument later in the present day. However my tentative preliminary view is that a lot of the justices appear more likely to aspect with Tyler.
NOTE: Geraldine Tyler is represented by the Pacific Authorized Basis, which can be my spouse’s employer. She, nonetheless, shouldn’t be one of many attorneys engaged on the case.