Skip to comments.9-0: SCOTUS Delivers Devastating Decision To State Sponsored Seizure Schemes
Posted on 02/20/2019 6:04:21 PM PST by Hojczyk
The Supreme Court has just put the clamps on states ability to impose excessive fines and use civil asset forfeiture to seize private property.
On Wednesday February 20, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that the Eight Amendments ban on excessive fines also applies to states. This landmark ruling bolsters property rights and could curtail controversial law enforcement seizures, especially those carried out via civil forfeiture.
In the decision, Timbs v. Indiana, the Supreme Court sided with small time drug offender Tyson Timbs, whose $42,000 Land Rover was seized by law enforcement officials. Civil asset forfeiture is one of the most controversial methods used to raise revenue across the nation. However, it has garnered considerable criticism from political figures across the political spectrum.
In a previous case, Austin v. United States, the Court ruled that the Eight Amendment, which is clear about its prohibition of excessive fines, limits the federal governments ability to seize property. Timbs v. Indiana now extends those limits to the states.
For once, Justice Ruth Ginsburg gets it right. She wrote:
The historical and logical case for concluding that the 14th Amendment incorporates the Excessive Fines Clause is overwhelming.
Ginsburg drew from Anglo-American legal traditions to rule in Timbss favor:
(Excerpt) Read more at bigleaguepolitics.com ...
KELO never committed a crime.
Ok, I will bite. Who or what is KELO?
It stuns me that this issue has required a SCOTUS ruling. How the hell didn’t city halls and state capitals not get burned to the ground over this?
Susette Kelo dreamed of owning a home that looked out over the water. She purchased and lovingly restored her little pink house where the Thames River meets the Long Island Sound in 1997, and had enjoyed the great view from its windows. The Dery family, up the street from Susette, had lived in Fort Trumbull since 1895; Matt Dery and his family lived next door to his mother and father. Matts mother was born in her house in 1918 and had never lived anywhere else. The richness and vibrancy of this neighborhood reflected the American ideal of community and the dream of homeownership.
Tragically, the City of New London turned that dream into a nightmare.
In 1998, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer built a plant next to Fort Trumbull and the City determined that someone else could make better use of the land than the Fort Trumbull residents. The City handed over its power of eminent domainthe ability to take private property for public useto the New London Development Corporation (NLDC), a private body, to take the entire neighborhood for private development. As the Fort Trumbull neighbors found out, when private entities wield governments awesome power of eminent domain and can justify taking property with the nebulous claim of economic development, all homeowners are in trouble.
The fight over Fort Trumbull eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court, where the Court in 2005, in one of the most controversial rulings in its history, held that economic development was a public use under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The Supreme Courts 5-4 decision against Kelo and her neighbors sparked a nation-wide backlash against eminent domain abuse, leading eight state supreme courts and 43 state legislatures to strengthen protections for property rights. Moreover, Kelo educated the public about eminent domain abuse, and polls consistently show that Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to Kelo and support efforts to change the law to better protect home and small business owners. Moreover, since the Kelo ruling in June 2005, citizen activists have defeated 44 projects that sought to abuse eminent domain for private development.
Meanwhile, in New London, the Fort Trumbull project has been a dismal failure. After spending close to $80 million in taxpayer money, there has been no new construction whatsoever and the neighborhood is now a barren field. In 2009, Pfizer, the lynchpin of the disastrous economic development plan, announced that it was leaving New London for good, just as its tax breaks are set to expire.
But Susette Kelos iconic little pink house was saved and moved to a new location. You can visit the historic Kelo House, which is now the home of local preservationist Avner Gregory, at its new location in downtown New London: 36 Franklin Street (at the intersection of Franklin and Cottage Streets).
For a compelling account of the history and back-story of the New London controversy, read Jeff Benedicts book Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage published in 2009 by Grand Central Publishing. The book was also adapted into an award-winning feature film Little Pink House, which debuted in 2018, starring Catherine Keener as Susette Kelo, and is available to stream online.
The specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory.
Justice Sandra Day OConnor
Basically, SCOTUS ruled 5-4 (majority authored by Stevens) that the 4th Amendment gives the government the right to seize private property if a commercial alternative to the seized property can expand the tax base. The dissenters basically said this is was state-sanctioned "reverse Robin Hood" since the seized property in this case was "run down" and the new owner was a real estate developer.
You cannot trace cash so therefore the government does not like you having large amounts of cash.
I imagine this decision will have far far reaching effects in the class action arena as well.
This is great news!!
Property Rights Ping
9 - 0: Wow!
the ruling was very interesting as it discussed in rights being incorporated against state and local governments. it may be a far reaching precedent.
The first thing that comes to my mind are Christian cake bakers.
Good post #5. Thanks.
Ah. Thank you
Ah thank you Doodlebob
The part that bothers me, is that “the taking” seems to be arbitrary, even before there is a verdict of guilty.
I wouldn’t be entirely comfortable with takings, but if it could be proven that a major portion of the payments to purchase the family home, vehicles, RVs, and other perks, were provided by selling drugs or any other violation of serious criminal codes, I could buy into confiscation.
Confiscations should not benefit anyone involved with law enforcement, the judicial system, or another entity that was involve in charges, arrests, or convictions.
That may be repetitive, but I want to make sure there is not an incentive to go after people, just because your department or even yourself will benefit from it.
you see the post asking about Kelo- I feel so old- :)
Didn’t the Obama EPA fine people astronomical daily amounts for some kind of water rules they were trying to impose? Can’t remember the details.
There is still a vestige of the Fourth Amendment.
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