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United States v. Craft

United States Supreme Court
535 U.S. 274 (2002)


Sandra Craft (plaintiff) and her husband owned a residence in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as tenants by the entirety. In 1988, the IRS attached a federal tax lien to the property in response to Mr. Craft’s nonpayment of his federal income tax. Several years later, Ms. Craft attempted to sell the residence, only to find that the lien still existed. She brought suit against the Government (defendant) challenging the lien. The district court determined that the lien entitled the Government to one-half of the proceeds from Ms. Craft’s sale of the residence. She appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which determined that under Michigan law, Mr. Craft had no separate property right as a tenant by the entirety, and thus was unable to encumber the residence with a tax lien. The Government petitioned for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (O’Connor, J.)

Dissent (Scalia, J.)

Dissent (Thomas, J.)

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