SCOTUS Gives Americans Two Wins Over Private Property Rights
SCOTUS Gives Americans Two Wins Over Private Property Rights
In two UNANIMOUS decisions, SCOTUS ruled on behalf of Americans private property rights. The EPA got spanked once again and state/local governments are not allowed to take people’s homes.
I cannot begin to tell you how huge this is for Americans. Let’s look at both cases. First, Geraldine Tyler’s case that has been a TEN YEAR battle.
In 2016, a Minnesota county sold 94-year-old Geraldine Tyler’s condo at auction after she failed to pay her property taxes for several years. The sale yielded $40,000; Hennepin County kept not only the $15,000 in taxes, penalties, and costs that Tyler owed it, but also the $25,000 that was left over. The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the county’s actions violated the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause, which bars the government from taking private property for public use without adequately compensating the property owner.
Yes folks, you read that correctly. A county in Minnesota decided to pocket the proceeds of the sale instead of wiping Geraldine’s debt clean and giving her the proceeds of the sale of her home. This is takings on steroids. Something that our FIFTH Amendment specifically doesn’t allow. Yet that particular county in Minnesota isn’t the only one. There are cases ALL over the country. This is a detailed thread on several of them.
Kevin Fair fell $588 behind on his taxes when he quit his job to care for his dying wife. With interest, he owed $5,268. For that, he lost the entire value of his $60,000 home.— Billy Binion (@billybinion) May 25, 2023
Today's ruling means the gov't cannot steal home equity from folks like Kevin. https://t.co/zEynfWQxvz pic.twitter.com/xyllVunLlP
And, you think it can’t happen to you? It did and has happened to far too many Americans for years. It took Geraldine Tyler, now 94 years old, to hold government accountable for taking her money and infringing on her private property rights.
That wasn’t the only win. Oh no, a second win for private property rights is equally as important.
The Supreme Court on Thursday curtailed the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate certain wetlands that qualify as “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act, curbing what has long been seen as a key tool to protect waterways from pollution.
The high court ruled against the agency in a long-running dispute with Idaho landowners known as Sackett v. EPA. In an opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito, the court found that the agency’s interpretation of the wetlands covered by the Clean Water Act is “inconsistent” with the law’s text and structure, and the law extends only to “wetlands with a continuous surface connection to bodies of water that are ‘waters of the United States’ in their own right.”
This is a huge deal given the EPA had arbitrarily decided, without Congressional approval, to designate whether an area is deemed a wetland or not. As in, if water pooled in an area after massive storms, the EPA could maliciously decide to declare it a wetland. For the Sackett’s this impacted their ability to build their home and improve their acreage. For ranchers and farmers, this created huge uncertainty.
The ranch I grew up on is a prime example. A DRY creek runs through it. A creek that only has water flowing through portions of it IF there happens to be a lot of rain. Which is so rare that I can only remember about 8 times in 42 years that water flowed through the creek. Yet the EPA could, with their overreach, decide to declare the area a wetland and we would’ve had entire pastures abandoned because grazing cattle wouldn’t have been allowed. No folks, I’m not exaggerating.
Had rural Colorado clients back in 1993; heavy rains pushed adjacent stream onto their land. They restored the stream to its original channel but faced hundreds of dollars in fines & jail time from Bush41's EPA. Said his U.S. Attorney, "It's the law, it need not make sense."— William Perry Pendley (@Sagebrush_Rebel) May 25, 2023
The Sackett’s (and I love their last name because Louis L’Amour!) persisted. It took them 16 years to get justice for the EPA’s overreach.
Again, I cannot tell you how important these two decisions are for all of us.
The government took from American citizens. They had a debt, and rather than wipe the debt clean and return the proceeds of the sale to the lawful homeowner, Geraldine Tyler and many others, the government kept that money.
Home equity theft is legal in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, and the District of Columbia, although today’s ruling should hamstring those forfeiture schemes.
Secondly, the government – in this case the EPA, declared property was a wetlands without so much as a by your leave. Therefore, the Sackett’s were forced to stop building their new home and infringement on their private property rights. This Twitter thread lays out much of Justice Alito’s opinion on the ruling, which echoes that of Justice Scalia.
All because the EPA in their infinite wisdom (remember Flint, MI or the Gold King Mine disaster in southern Colorado?) arbitrarily decided that the Sackett’s property had enough water to be defined as wetlands.
This is such a win that Democrats REALLY couldn’t handle it.
This MAGA Supreme Court is continuing to erode our country’s environmental laws.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 25, 2023
Make no mistake—this ruling will mean more polluted water, and more destruction of wetlands.
We’ll keep fighting to protect our waters. https://t.co/wlp1LTvZJB
This from the guy who enthusiastically voted yes for all the Democrats on that bench! The community notes is just a chef’s kiss.
For too many years we’ve endured government intrusion and overreach. Yesterday, Americans were handed a Constitutional victory …TWICE.
The taxpayer must render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, but no more.”
Feature Photo Credit: Home, justice, America via iStock, cropped and modified