The U.S. Supreme Court, at oral argument on April 26, 2023, highlighted an amicus brief prepared by international law firm Dorsey & Whitney on behalf of a Notre Dame Law School professor.

The case, Tyler v. Hennepin County, Minnesota, raises the question of whether the government violates the Constitution by confiscating a home to satisfy a property tax debt when the home is worth more than what the owner owes and the government keeps the surplus value.

A Dorsey team including Steve Wells, Nick Bullard, and Jessica Leano prepared an amicus brief on behalf of James Kelly, Clinical Professor of Law at Notre Dame Law School, arguing that the County’s confiscation of the home did not violate the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The brief details the history of tax forfeiture and argues that an owner’s “surplus” value in a home is not a unique property interest protected by the Takings Clause.

At oral argument, Justice Samuel Alito acknowledged “Professor Kelly’s amicus brief” and asked the petitioner’s lawyer to respond to Professor Kelly’s argument. Of the 35 amicus briefs submitted in the case, Professor Kelly’s brief was the only amicus brief expressly mentioned by the justices at argument.