TYLER V. HENNEPIN COUNTY
Supreme Court declares home equity theft unconstitutional
In January 2023, the Supreme Court announced it would review the case of Geraldine Tyler, an elderly widow who is suing Hennepin County, Minnesota for the unconstitutional theft of her home equity. When Geraldine fell behind on the property taxes for her one-bedroom condo, the government seized the home, sold it, and kept every penny—even though it was more than double what Geraldine owed. “When the government takes more than it is owed in taxes, that’s home equity theft,” Pacific Legal Foundation senior attorney Christina Martin, who represents Geraldine, said. On May 25, 2023, the Supreme Court announced a unanimous decision in favor of Geraldine, ruling that home equity theft violates the Takings Clase of the Fifth Amendment. The Court explained that property rights are fundamental and cannot be erased by a state statute that redefines them out of existence. “The taxpayer must render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the decision, “but no more.” Read more about Tyler v. Hennepin County.