On April 17, 2023, I was pleased to participate in a Federalist Society webinar on Tyler v. Hennepin County, a case involving what has been dubbed “home equity theft.” The case will be argued before the Supreme Court on April 26, 2023. The argument promises to be a lively one because it directly raises a Fifth Amendment taking issue, and an Eighth Amendment excessive fines issue. In addition, because the case involves the confiscation of surplus equity of a home owned by an elderly Geraldine Tyler, sold by the County of Hennepin, Minnesota, to recover back property taxes and penalties, the case has garnered the interest of groups such as the AARP, which filed an amicus brief in support of Tyler. The AARP and other amici argued that home equity theft has an outsized impact on the elderly population.
Earlier this year, I worked with Larry Ebner at the Atlantic Legal Foundation to prepare an amicus brief in support on behalf of the Atlantic Legal Foundation. Our brief argues for protecting private property from unconstitutional governmental confiscation.
The Federalist Society webinar was moderated by Tony Francois, Partner at Briscoe Ivester & Bazel. John Bursch, Founder of Bursch Law PLLC joined me as a fellow panelist. Special thanks to Jack Capizzi, Assistant Director of Practice Groups at the Federalist Society for hosting this discussion on this important case.
“the County is flat wrong on this point: property rights are not the creature of state law [but] are fundamental, inalienable rights that belong to every American.” – Nancie Marzulla
My key message in this webinar was that “the County’s position in this case starts from the wrong premise. The County’s argument that no taking occurred here is based on its … elaborate scheme by which it gives the homeowner numerous opportunities to … pay back the property taxes it owes, but this argument … starts from the premise that property rights and property ownership is a government benefit.”
But, as I explained, “the County is flat wrong on this point: property rights are not the creature of state law [but] are fundamental, inalienable rights that belong to every American.”
Thank you again to the Federalist Society for hosting this program. You can listen to our discussion below.