Commonwealth Policy Center

The Supreme Court is hearing an important case involving private property rights. It involves a 94-year-old woman named Geraldine Tyler, who’s suing Hennepin county in Minnesota. Tyler owed around $15,000 in fees and back taxes, prompting the county to foreclose on her home. They eventually sold it for $40,000. However, instead of refunding Tyler with the extra $25,000 she had in home-equity, the county kept the money. This is called home-equity theft, and it particularly affects the poor and elderly who are hit with exorbitant penalty fees for failing to pay taxes. When the government takes someone’s home and sells it for a profit, it violates the fundamental right to private property. Many court watchers are pulling for the little guy and hoping SCOTUS will restore private property rights protected by the Constitution.