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PIGS FLY: SCOTUS Rules In Favor Of The Little Guys In Tax Sale

The Supreme Court yesterday gave a 94-year-old Minneapolis woman a chance to recoup some money after the county kept the entire $40,000 when it sold her condominium over a much smaller unpaid tax bill. Via the Associated Press:

The justices ruled that Hennepin County, Minnesota violated the constitutional rights of the woman, Geraldine Tyler, by taking her property without paying “just compensation.”

“The County had the power to sell Tyler’s home to recover the unpaid property taxes. But it could not use the toehold of the tax debt to confiscate more property than was due,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court.

Tyler, who now lives in an apartment building for older people, owed $2,300 in unpaid taxes, plus interest and penalties totalling $15,000, when the county took title to the one-bedroom apartment in 2015. The county said she did nothing to hold onto her one-time residence. The apartment sold the next year.

A handful of states in addition to the District of Columbia allow local governments to keep the excess money, according to the Pacific Legal Foundation, a not-for-profit public interest law firm that represented Tyler at the Supreme Court.