Michigan’s foreclosure law: Efficient or unfair?
Taylor Popielarz of ABC57 News (South Bend, IN) aired a terrific segment that questions whether or not Michigan’s foreclosure law is “efficient or unfair.” We think you’ll agree the law is unfair even if it allows the government to efficiently take your property it doesn’t deserve.
As you will recall, since last year, Christina Martin has been keeping you up to date on Michigan’s unjust, and unconstitutional foreclosure law in Wayside Church v. Van Buren County. Before PLF took over the direct representation of the victims of this unfair law, including Wayside Church, it filed an amicus brief to support them in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. It explained how Michigan’s tax scheme violates the Takings Clause of the U.S. Constitution. As Martin related on Liberty Blog:
In Michigan, when landowners fail to pay their property taxes, local governments take the property, sell it, and keep all the profits—no matter how small the debt or how valuable the property. As a result, local governments are profiting handsomely over the misfortune of their residents.
Unfortunately, the Sixth Circuit dismissed the case earlier this year on procedural grounds. The court held that Michigan courts offer a “reasonable, certain, and adequate” remedy for Wayside Churches constitutional claim, so it didn’t answer the central question of whether the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause was violated.
In July, PLF took over the direct representation of three victims of the law and petitioned the Supreme Court of the United States to protect property owners’ rights by recognizing federal jurisdiction and holding that Van Buren County violated the Takings Clause.
We should know by late fall if the highest court in the land will hear this case. Either way, we’ll keep fighting for individual liberty for as long as it takes to secure the just result.
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Wayside Church v. Van Buren County, Michigan
When Michigan property owners fall behind on their taxes, the state allows counties to seize and sell the land, and keep all sale proceeds–no matter how small the tax debt or how valuable the property. Van Buren County reaped a major windfall after selling three properties with relatively small tax debts, including a church. PLF believes local governments violate the Takings Clause of the Constitution when they keep the surplus, and has asked for Supreme Court review.Read more
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