Robbin Fulton got his ass busted for driving without a license. As a result, the tyrants at the city of Chicago, decided they’d take his car until he paid his fucking fine.
Fulton wasn’t just an idiot for driving without a license, he’s also broke AF, and had to file for bankruptcy. In that bankruptcy, he named the city as an unsecured creditor. Unsecured just means he owed them money, but didn’t put anything up for collateral with them, which makes sense since it was a fine, and not a loan. If you finance a car or home for instance, that’s secured since the bank can come and take the car or home.
So then, the Chicago Gustapo decided, “Fuck it, we’ll call ourselves a secured creditor, and keep this prick’s car.”
The bankruptcy court told Chicago, “That’s cute, now give this douchebag his car back, and stop being assholes.”
But the city of Chicago are persistent tyrants. They really wanted to keep Fulton’s hooptie. So the went to a federal district court, who were like, “Stop wasting our time with this shit. You were told to give the car back, now give it back.”
So then Chicago, still not convinced that they’re the assholes here, went to the Seventh Circuit, who were like, “Really Chicago? What the fuck is wrong with you? Give Fulton his piece of shit car back, already, and stop wasting everyone’s fucking time. It’s not even a nice fucking car. Why do you want it so much?”
But tyrants will tyrant, and now Chicago is here asking them if they can keep the car.
In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS decided Chicago was surprisingly AOK, here. Chicago retaining the property of Fulton and others isn’t akin to Chicago repoing it, and selling it to someone else, like a bank might do. So long as they don’t take ownership of the car, they can hold it until the owner exercises provisions in 11 U.S.C. § 542(a), which then allows them to get their cars back. Basically requiring them to sue to get their cars returned, as opposed to a rule that requires the city to automatically return them once a bankruptcy is filed, without any action needed by the vehicle owners.