High Court Rules Against State's Seizure of House

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by IJ Reilly, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #1
    It's interesting to see where the justices squared off in this case.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-scotus27apr27,1,4485520.story
     
  2. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #2
    Holy sphincter. It looks like Kelo would have survived under the Roberts court. This is the first major property case since then (a whole year:)). The two sides seem to have reversed themselves. The majority is not satisfied with precednet and reinterprets the law, while the minority is demanded that precedent be adhered to.

    Reading the opinion and dissent clears up a lot of the bad reporting. There were two letters sent, neither was picked up (even after three failed delivery attempts). Jones failed to maintain proper records with the state. The state was incredibly lazy - resending the letter via regular mail is considered sufficient. I do worry that if the certified mail is not delivered and the mail is sent regular, how the government will ensure delivery to the owner. But, I guess that is what reasonable expectionation of delivery is good for.

    All in all, I think that the majority brings up a very valid point regarding where the law stands. While they stretch things a little, I think that the ruling was the right one. The dissent is right that precedent does push the other way, but I don't think that the precedent is right. However, I also don't agree with the idea that states are going to work to maintain personal service. I expect that the mailroom will be instructed to resend undelivered certified mail by regular channels and by done with it.
     
  3. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #3
    this and hallucinogenic tea. what an interesting chief justice we have.
     
  4. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #4
    Yes, I suspect Kelo would have gone the same way with Roberts sitting in the big seat, but I'm not surprised by that. The really interesting comparison with Kelo is the way the most conservative members of the court, which excoriated the majority in Kelo, rationalized a complete lack of due process in this property seizure case. Their reasoning seemed to be that the owner of the property deserved to have his property seized and sold without his knowing about it because, like, you know, he was kind of sloppy, and the state sort of tried to tell him beforehand. They didn't see the logic of having this matter addressed with even the same gravity ordinarily associated with a court serving a summons for an unpaid parking ticket.

    This, ladies and gentlemen, is strict constructionism at work.
     
  5. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #5
    But, that is what makes this case interesting. The view of the conservative members wasn't a strict interpretation of the Constitution, it was strictly stare decisis. The reasoning reads almost like like the Kelo reasoning. I would love to know what Thomas was trying to do with that. They seemed to appreciate the gravity of the situation, and understood that the government has to use a method that should ensure that the notice is recieved by the owner. I would expect in six tries (three for each letter) someone would have gotten the letter - you don't have to be 18 to sign for certified mail. The fact that they (should have) had notice that a letter was being delivered should have been a clue that there was mail for them to pick up and it must be important.

    I don't know how to feel about this case. I like the decision, and I see how the opinion gives the government a lot of leeway - this is going ot be cited like mad when people claim not to have gotten sufficient notice (my first thought was House of Sand and Fog - brilliant movie). I am concerned that some states (like the People's Republic of Maryland) may require agencies to personally serve notice - and that would be an excessive burden.
     
  6. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #6
    A burden so the police state can land grab? please. Some official certification should be needed by law even if it means a visit. We are talking real estate and a oppressive govt.
     
  7. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #7
    Whoa.....careful there. It is way too easy to avoid "official certification" by simply not being around. Even the majority doesn't think that would be reasonable - they just want a method that can be read at the occupier's convenience.

    We aren't talking real estate and an oppressive government, we are talking about property taxes. If you don't pay your property tax, your land is taken and sold to pay those taxes. I suppose the government could get out of taxing property, but that money is generally used to fund local projects, especially schools and safety. That land can only be taken with due process. If notice and an opportunity to be heard are given, that's enough.
     
  8. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #8
    A court summons is served personally, and that doesn't seem to be burden.

    I don't know about the stare decisis issues, but I was under the impression that the Court hadn't heard this specific question previously. Thomas' remarks at least don't seem to rely on precedent, but instead on his concern that governments would be unduly burdened if they had to actually notify an owner before their property was seized.

    Apparently the owner's daughter lived in the house. Why she didn't sign for the registered mail, or tell her father it had been arriving, is a mystery. Maybe they didn't get along. No matter. If I'm the county assessor, in this situation I want to have a piece of paper in the file with the owner's signature verifying that he is aware of the tax sale, even if it takes looking his name and address up in the phone book and sending a Deputy Sheriff out to get it. This seems like ordinary common sense, if not ordinary common decency.
     
  9. 3rdpath macrumors 68000

    3rdpath

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    #10
    Thomas is a pompous ass.

    The homeowner was neither a tax evader or scofflaw...just negligent in his business dealings.

    So much for stacking the court Mr Bush...
     

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