The Supreme Court is set to hear a case involving the Fifth Amendment's takings clause after the state of Minnesota seized the home of a 94-year-old grandmother for owing $15,000 in property taxes, penalties, interest, and other costs.
The home was then auctioned off for $40,000, and the state pocketed the extra $25,000 which many argue violates the Constitution's protection against excessive fines.
The victim, nonagenarian Geraldine Tyler, said, "It would mean a lot to me to win this case, especially because it would help old folks like me." Minnesota argues that the seizure was a measure of "last resort," and they had to seize the home of an elderly woman to settle debts.
Minnesota also argued that "Forfeiture also returns delinquent properties to productive use and the tax rolls, stemming future government losses from unpaid taxes or more extensive remediation."
The case, Tyler v. Hennepin County, will likely get an official ruling in June, and there is a strong chance that the conservative-majority Supreme Court will rule against Minnesota's pocketing of the extra $25,000.
Minnesota essentially seized property belonging to an elderly American and kept the extra money that was not owed. Thankfully the Supreme Court has a great opportunity to right this injustice.