Supreme Court Slaps Down Government Grab, 9-0

SNIDELY WHIPLASH IN THE BRONX (1921) – The Brownstone Detectives

Snidely Whiplash lives!

A 94-year-old woman in Minnesota was $2,300 behind in her taxes ($15,000 including fines and interest); so the county seized her home, sold it for $40,000… and kept the money. All of it. (

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week–unanimously–that the county couldn’t do that. No way. I mean, sheesh–the county came out $25,000 ahead at this poor old lady’s expense. Could anything be more crass?

Government is not your friend. Our country’s founders knew that. Most countries don’t. Have we evolved into one of those? Maybe not quite yet. The Supreme Court refused to allow this overreach by a county government.

As a reporter I covered many stories of local governments seizing property because of unpaid taxes. Speculators would then bid for the right to pay the delinquent taxes and, eventually, take ownership of the property. The original owner had a limited amount of time in which to repay the debt. Most of them never showed up.

But to wrest this money–and then some!–from a 94-year-old woman… Holy cow, Snidely Whiplash lives!

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