The Supreme Court has sided with a 94 year-old woman who accused the government of violating the constitution by forcibly selling her property and keeping the profit.
Geraldine Tyler took her dispute with a county in Minnesota to the high court after the local government kept a $25,000 profit from selling her condo in a tax foreclosure sale.
Tyler’s home was seized due to $15,000 in unpaid taxes and fees – but Hennepin County sold the property for $40,000 and pocketed the profit.
In a unanimous decision, the justices determined the county violated the Fifth Amendment’s ban on the confiscation of private property without proper compensation.
According to the Pacific Legal Foundation, which spearheaded Tyler’s case, twelve US states routinely allow the government to keep excess proceeds in similar circumstances.
The Foundation calls the Supreme Court’s decision a big win for property rights of citizens across the country.
“Today’s decision is a major victory for property rights in the United States. This decision affirms that property rights are fundamental and don’t depend solely on state law. The Court’s ruling makes clear that home equity theft is not only unjust, but unconstitutional.”
In its losing argument, the county argued Tyler could have sold the property herself and had basically abandoned the home by not doing so.
Tyler purchased the one-bedroom condo back in 1999 and began falling behind on taxes in 2011 after she moved into a home for seniors.Don't Miss a Beat – Subscribe to get email alerts delivered directly to your inbox
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