Who Knew Taxes Could Be This Lucrative: The Sixth Circuit Weighs In On The Takings Clause

Elections loom before us. You know what that means. You are about to get inundated with all sorts of politician scandals, single-issue voter points and an old American standby, “law and order.” As candidates push these law and order narratives, it’s important to remember that civilians aren’t the only ones looking to take your stuff — you need to be on the lookout for your government too.

A county in Michigan violated the takings clause when it seized title to homes to satisfy tax debts without giving the owners compensation for their homes’ value above the amount owed, a federal appeals court has ruled.

Tawanda Hall was among the four plaintiffs. Hall alleges that Oakland County, Michigan, foreclosed on her home worth about $300,000 to satisfy a $22,262 tax debt and then refused to give her the difference between the debt owed and the home’s value.

Instead, the property was transferred to the city of Southfield, Michigan, for the value of the tax debt, which transferred the property to a neighborhood revitalizing initiative for a dollar. The home later sold for $308,000. Hall was one of four plaintiffs who alleged the county violated the Fifth Amendment’s taking clause, as applied to the states by the 14th Amendment, by failing to pay owners the surplus value of their homes after tax-debt foreclosures. Hall is represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, a nonprofit legal organization, which calls the process a “tax and take” scheme.

I don’t know when government seizures became the new cool way to make money, but they’ve been hitting news lines as of late. Just last week we covered a story on Atlanta law enforcement seizing over a million dollars from folks trying to board flights. It reads like a weird anomaly, but it is hard to think of it as such once you realize the boys in blue have taken more wealth than the men in black.

Really important to know that cops have been stealing more from people than thieves have for years now pic.twitter.com/Vawdlr8OKU

— Read Jackson Rising by @CooperationJXN (@JoshuaPotash) October 12, 2022

The only thing that’ll stop folks from taking a mile from the inch the Takings Clause gives is resolute vigilance. And tax literacy. Try not to fall behind!