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Civil forfeiture: Due process misinterpreted

by
Institute for Justice

Using civil forfeiture, law enforcement can permanently confiscate cash, cars, even homes, without ever charging the owner. It’s a power more fitting of a banana republic, not a constitutional one.

Yet the U.S. Supreme Court has mistakenly upheld civil forfeiture, most recently in Bennis v. Michigan, when it ruled that forfeiting an innocent woman’s car did not violate the Due Process Clause or the Takings Clause.

Next term, the high court will hear Timbs v. Indiana, which hopefully will be the first in a series of cases the court will take on to rein in this abuse of power.

Scott G. Bullock, President and General Counsel, Institute for Justice

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