Fighting Foreclosure: The Blaisdell Case, The Contract Clause, And The Great Depression (Landmark Law Cases & American Society)

Fighting Foreclosure: The Blaisdell Case, The Contract Clause, And The Great Depression (Landmark Law Cases & American Society)

Fighting Foreclosure: The Blaisdell Case, the Contract Clause, and the Great Depression (Landmark Law Cases & American Society)

In the depths of the Great Depression, when foreclosure rates skyrocketed across the United States, more than two dozen states passed mortgage-extension or -adjustment laws to help farmers and homeowners keep their properties. One such statute in Minnesota led to the most important property law case of its time and still casts a long shadow upon constitutional debates and our own era's severe economic downturn.

Fighting Foreclosure marks the first book-length study of the landmark 1934 Supreme Court decision in Home Building and Loan Association v. Blaisdell, which, by a 5-4 vote, upheld the Minnesota Mortgage Moratorium Act. On the one hand, Blaisdell validated efforts by states to offer legislative relief to citizens struggling to keep their farms and homes. On the other, it caused an outcry among banking interests and conservative legal theorists, who argued that these laws violated the Contract Clause of the Constitution and interfered with our free market system.

In his majority opinion, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes argued that the reasonable and limited nature of the law and the unusual severity of the emergency it addressed placed it firmly...

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