“”We agree that the government can seize the property to collect a debt,” says Christina M. Martin, a senior attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation who has represented both women. “What it can’t do is take more than it’s owed.””
“At the core of home equity theft cases is the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “Nor shall private property be taken for public use,” it reads, “without just compensation.” It would seem fairly straightforward.
It has not been.”
“according to the 8th Circuit, Tyler—and the many people also in her shoes—simply have no recourse when the government profits off of their poverty. “In every other debt collection context, the debt collector is only allowed to take what is owed, plus the cost of collecting the debt. But here, the government gets to tack on penalties, interests, fees, and then they get to take everything that’s left over after that?” asks Martin. “That can’t be right.””
“”We’re not asking for anything unusual here,” says Martin, who will be arguing the case in front of the high court. “We’re asking that the government not [receive] self-dealing, preferential treatment that allows them to just take a massive windfall, usually at the expense of the most vulnerable people.””
“A number of state wildlife agencies as well as FWS claim the right to not only enter private property, but in some cases to plant cameras as well, without either a warrant or the property owner’s permission. For example, a chapter of the FWS policy manual denoting “circumstances where a Service officer may observe and obtain evidence without courts considering it a search” stipulates, “when Service officers enter onto open fields…their observations are reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.”
The open fields doctrine dates back to the Prohibition-era Supreme Court decision Hester v. United States (1924). Revenue agents caught a bootlegger with jugs of moonshine. He was on his property but away from his home. He sued to overturn his arrest, as the officers were on the property without a warrant. Writing for the majority, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes upheld the arrest, finding that “the special protection accorded by the Fourth Amendment to the people in their ‘persons, houses, papers, and effects’ is not extended to the open fields.”
Decades later, the Court affirmed the decision in Oliver v. United States (1984): Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. held that “in the case of open fields, the general rights of property protected by the common law of trespass have little or no relevance to the applicability of the Fourth Amendment.” Further, “steps taken to protect privacy,” like fences or “No Trespassing” signs, “do not establish that expectations of privacy in an open field are legitimate in the sense required by the Fourth Amendment.””
“Roberts has spent much of his career crusading against voting rights, specifically the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the landmark civil rights law that ended Jim Crow practices disenfranchising Black voters and prohibiting race discrimination of all kinds in elections.
As a young Justice Department lawyer, Roberts fought unsuccessfully to convince President Ronald Reagan to veto an important 1982 amendment to the law, which overturned a previous Supreme Court decision making it very difficult to win Voting Rights Act lawsuits. As a justice, Roberts wrote the Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder (2013), which neutralized much of the law. He also joined two other opinions severely weakening the rest of the law — the latter of which, Brnovich v. DNC, was decided on the last day of this term.
The practical impact of this trilogy is that the Voting Rights Act is barely alive. Under Brnovich, for example, states are likely to have carte blanche to roll back early voting and absentee voting, as well as other, similar innovations that became common in the last four decades. And most challenges to the latest wave of Republican voter suppression laws are likely to fail.”
“in a term gravid with extraordinarily aggressive arguments made by right-wing lawyers, conservatives and Republicans had an exceptionally good run. They convinced the Court to hobble the Voting Rights Act, to open a new line of attack on donor disclosure laws, to expand property rights, to attack unions, and to rewrite the rules governing when religious objectors are exempt from the law.
And that’s after just one term with a 6-3 Court. Next term, the Court will hear a case that could overrule Roe v. Wade.”
“We found that after controlling for education, crime, walkability, and many other metrics you might find on Zillow, homes in black neighborhoods are devalued by 23 percent. About $48,000 per home, about $156 billion in lost equity. Now, that’s the money people use to start businesses and to send their kids to college. In fact, that would have paid for more than 4 million black-owned businesses, based on the average startup costs that blacks had to start businesses. They would have funded more than 8 million four-year degrees at a public institution. It’s the money that people use to uplift themselves.
So throughout history, black people have been denied housing opportunities and have been subjected to predatory lending and other unsavory practices that have really disenfranchised them. And so when these police incidents occur, a lot of this frustration comes from not having an ability to influence policy. And a lot of that starts with a lack of homeownership.”
“The devaluation goes beyond housing. We also did a study examining businesses in black communities. To get a sense of the quality, we scraped Yelp data from all businesses and compared those in black-majority communities and in white-majority spaces. We found a similar finding: Businesses owned by people of color in black-majority neighborhoods actually scored higher on Yelp, but received less revenue because of the neighborhood’s perception. People will bypass quality in black neighborhoods simply because it’s the black neighborhood.”