LIEB BLOG

How current events impact business & real estate

Showing posts with label supreme court. Show all posts
Showing posts with label supreme court. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

SALT Tax Deduction Limit is Valid per Second Circuit Court of Appeals

Back in 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act capped SALT deductions at $10,000. 


To remind you, SALT deductions permit "taxpayers to deduct from their taxable income all the money they paid in state and local income and property taxes." As a result, it saves residents in high tax states from having to pay a lot of money to the federal government because they already paid a lot of tax to their state. States like New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Maryland have really high state and local taxes and therefore, residents of these states were hurt the most when Congress capped SALT deduction at $10,000. 


To fight for their citizens and for their sovereignty, these four states sued the federal government "asserting that Congress's new cap on the SALT deduction either is unconstitutional on its face of unconstitutionally coerces them to abandon their preferred fiscal policies." 


Stated otherwise, the states argued "that the SALT deduction cap violates both Article I, Section 8 and the Tenth Amendment [and the Sixteenth Amendment] because it coerces them to lower taxes or cut spending."


The states lost in New York v. Yellen and the $10,000 cap remains. 


According to the Second Circuit, the states failed to demonstrate "how the 2017 cap on the deduction unconstitutionally undermines their state sovereign authority over fiscal matters or their ability to raise revenue." 


Yet, it seems pretty intuitive, no?


Do you think this should go to the Supreme Court? 


If not, will a Democratic Congress, led by a Senator from New York, act to reinstitute the full SALT Tax Deduction, which has been the law of the land since 1913 when the 16th Amendment was ratified and Congress first became empowered to "lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived without apportionment among the several states"? 





Thursday, September 30, 2021

NYC School Employees Go to Justice Sotomayor of the Supreme Court for Relief - Should They Get It?

In their best written papers to date, NYC school employees argued to the Supreme Court that they need a stay of the October 1, 2021 deadline to get vaccinated. 


They argue that the vaccination order prevents them from lawfully pursuing their occupation, which is a fundamental Due Process right. They claim that their alternative options of private school teaching, adult or continuing education teaching, or private tutoring are not pursuing their occupations completely. Nonetheless, they fail to address whether taking "their certifications and seek[ing] employment in any other public school system... in the State," would be pursuing their occupations completely, as NYC had argued before the Second Circuit. 


Regardless, the issue of whether the employees can still pursue their profession is where the case is likely to be decided. In their opposition before the Second Circuit, the City had argued and emphasized that Due Process protection is only afforded if "a plaintiff is completely prohibited from engaging in his or her chosen profession." However, the school employees now argue that "a violation of one’s fundamental right to pursue an occupation exists and gives rise to a due process claim where there is less than a complete inability to practice one’s profession." Which one is it? Who is right? 


What do you think the law should be? 


The other argument advanced by the school employees is that the vaccination order should have given them an option to opt out of vaccination for weekly testing because school staff should be treated equally to firefighters and police officers who have that option. While this seems like a good argument in an initial read of the papers, the school employees' argument that firefighters and police officers present a greater risk to spread COVID because they have contact with the public as opposed to school children who have less severe COVID fails the smell test when it's considered that adults can be vaccinated and those under 12 years of age cannot. However, we will see. 




Friday, August 27, 2021

Evictions Evictions - Get Your Evictions - US Supreme Court Opens the Floodgates

On August 27, 2021, the US Supreme Court opened the floodgates for evictions throughout the United States in the case of Alabama Association of Realtors v. DHHS


Landlords, have you called your attorney yet to start the eviction process? 

Investors, are you ready for the housing market to swing because of a flood of inventory? 

Tenants, have you started to make moving arrangements and tried to settle your arrears for less money? 


Wow, can you feel that tsunami coming? 


Make no mistake, this is the first domino to fall in our housing market's shift into a buyer's market on fundamentals. Are you ready? 


For the legal context of what transpired, the CDC had issued a moratorium on evictions in counties with substantial or high levels of COVID-19, which we explained here. That moratorium was thrown-out by the District Court for the District of Columbia, but that Court knew that the issue would get to the Supreme Court so they stayed (a/k/a, paused) the effectiveness of their Order overturning the moratorium until the Supreme Court could weigh-in, which we explained here. Now, the Supreme Court has weighed-in and the eviction moratorium is ineffective, unlawful, and unenforceable. 


To be clear, the Supreme Court did not weigh-in on the policy of an eviction moratorium. They didn't rule as to whether it is a good idea, good policy, or needed for our country. Instead, the Supreme Court ruled "that the statute on which the CDC relies does not grant it the authority it claims." In plain language, the eviction moratorium was thrown-out because the CDC's basis for imposing the moratorium does not afford it that power.


You see, Executive Branch agencies, like the CDC, can't do whatever they want. They need power before they act, which comes from Congress. Without that power, they can't do anything. They can't issue regulations, rules, or directives. This power, called an enabling statute, was missing from the eviction moratorium, according to the Supreme Court, which explained that the power relied upon by the CDC was meant "to implement measures like fumigation and pest extermination," not eviction moratoriums. According to the Supreme Court, "our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends." 


Knowing that, you should be wondering if Congress will act and impose its own eviction moratorium? 


For landlords, investors, and tenants that is a really important question given that the Supreme Court acknowledged, in its decision, that "[a]t least 80% of the country, including between 6 and 17 million tenants at risk of eviction, [fell] within the moratorium." 


However, we doubt that Congress will issue another moratorium because it can't get anything done with its division in the Senate. Further, the Supreme Court reminded Congress, in its decision, that a federal "moratorium intrudes into an area that is the particular domain of state law: the landlord-tenant relationship." 


As a result, evictions are about to flood the court systems. Are you ready for the eviction tsunami? 




Friday, August 13, 2021

U.S. Supreme Court Allows NYS Landlords to Resume Evictions

The U.S. Supreme Court blocked part of New York’s eviction moratorium, specifically Part A of the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Protection Act of 2020 (CEEFPA), which imposed a moratorium on evictions for tenants who provide their landlord with a signed hardship declaration. What this means is that New York State landlords can now resume their eviction matters.

As a reminder, CEEFPA allowed tenants to simply sign and provide a Hardship Declaration to their landlords to halt any eviction proceeding against them. The Supreme Court found that this self-certification by the tenant and CEEFPA’s limited avenue for a landlord to challenge the tenant’s declaration “violates the Court’s longstanding teaching that ordinarily ‘no man can be a judge in his own case.’”

The Supreme Court’s decision is a big win for landlords and it came at a time when everyone is wondering whether CEEFPA’s eviction moratorium, which was set to expire on August 31, 2021, would be extended. However, New York landlord-tenant courts and county sheriffs have yet to implement rules which reflect the Supreme Court’s decision. We’ll keep you posted.

Although the New York eviction moratorium is now essentially nonexistent, it should be noted that the CDC moratorium is still in place until October 3, 2021. However, with the CDC moratorium basically having the same framework as CEEFPA, it's possible that it will also come under the same scrutiny as CEEFPA and also be struck down. What do you think?



Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Courts to Begin Limited In-Person Operations on Long Island

On May 18, 2020 the New York State Court System resumed limited in-person operations in upstate counties. Today Chief Judge Janet DiFiore announced that in-person operations will expand to Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester Counties on May 27, Ulster and Sullivan Counties on May 28, and Nassau and Suffolk County on May 29. 

These re-openings are consistent with Phase 1 re-opening guidelines set by the Governor's Office and can be expanded as Phase 2 and further guidelines are met. 

Phase 1 operations permit judges, chambers staff, and some other limited personnel to return to their physical offices while operating in a manner consistent with current health and social distancing guidelines. Public in-person appearances will be limited to filings of emergency applications and the adjudication of matters that were previously identified as essential. In-person appearances for non-emergency and non-essential matters will be deferred to the courts' expanded virtual capabilities. 

Our court system is more capable than ever. Virtual conferences and the clearing of pending motions has put the courts in a position to handle the influx of new cases that will be filed now that non-essential matters can be commenced and in-person operations are returning. Chief Judge DiFiore has signaled that the expanded use of virtual court operations will be maintained by the courts for the foreseeable future as courthouses look to push as many public visitors as possible away from its doors and onto their computers screens. 

The Court System's official press release can be found HERE. The transcript of Judge DiFiore's latest message can be found HERE. A summary of the current state of online and in-person operations can be found HERE.