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Nos. 09-435 and 09-445

 

In the Supreme Court of the United States

NEW WEST, L.P., ET AL., PETITIONERS

v.

CITY OF JOLIET, ILLINOIS, ET AL.

TERESA DAVIS, ET AL., PETITIONERS

v.

CITY OF JOLIET, ILLINOIS

ON PETITIONS FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI
TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT

BRIEF FOR THE FEDERAL RESPONDENT IN OPPOSITION

ELENA KAGAN
Solicitor General
Counsel of Record
TONY WEST
Assistant Attorney General
MICHAEL S. RAAB
CHRISTINE N. KOHL
Attorneys
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001
(202) 514-2217

 

QUESTIONS PRESENTED

1. Whether a city ordinance condemning a privately owned, federally subsidized, low-income housing project is impliedly preempted by federal law that requires the property to be maintained as low-income housing for 30 years.

2. Whether the Property Clause of the Constitution bars a city's exercise of its eminent domain power against property on which the United States holds a mortgage.

In the Supreme Court of the United States

No. 09-435

NEW WEST, L.P., ET AL., PETITIONERS

v.

CITY OF JOLIET, ILLINOIS

No. 09-445

TERESA DAVIS, ET AL., PETITIONERS

v.

CITY OF JOLIET, ILLINOIS

ON PETITIONS FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI
TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT

BRIEF FOR THE FEDERAL RESPONDENT IN OPPOSITION

 

OPINIONS BELOW

The opinion of the court of appeals (Pet. App. 1a-18a) is reported at 562 F.3d 830.1 The opinions of the district court (Pet. App. 19a-29a, 30a-42a) are unreported.

JURISDICTION

The judgment of the court of appeals was entered on April 9, 2009. Petitions for rehearing were denied on July 14, 2009 (Pet. App. 43a-44a). The petitions for a writ of certiorari were filed on October 13, 2009 (Tues day following a holiday). The jurisdiction of this Court is invoked under 28 U.S.C. 1254(1).

STATEMENT

1. In 1997, Congress enacted the Multifamily As sisted Housing Reform and Affordability Act of 1997 (MAHRA or Act), Pub. L. No. 105-65, Tit. V, 111 Stat. 1384. The Act's stated purposes are, inter alia, "to pre serve low-income rental housing affordability and avail ability while reducing the long-term costs of project- based [federal] assistance"; "to resolve the problems affecting financially and physically troubled federally insured and assisted multifamily housing projects through cooperation with residents, owners, State and local governments, and other interested entities"; and "to protect the interest of project owners and managers, because they are partners of the Federal Government in meeting the affordable housing needs of the Nation." MAHRA § 511(b)(1), (6) and (7), 111 Stat. 1387. To ac complish those purposes, Congress directed the Depart ment of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to ad minister a detailed process through which owners of eligible, federally subsidized, low-income housing are entitled to restructure the financing of their properties. In return, MAHRA requires owners to make needed repairs and to agree to maintain the properties as low-income housing for at least 30 years. MAHRA § 514(e), 111 Stat. 1393. HUD has promulgated exten sive regulations governing that process. See 24 C.F.R. Pt. 401, 402.

When the owner of eligible low-income housing seeks to refinance its debt, MAHRA requires HUD to develop a Restructuring Plan. MAHRA § 514(a)(1), 111 Stat. 1392; see 24 C.F.R. 401.100, 401.101 (eligibility criteria). HUD hires a Participating Administrative Entity (PAE) to undertake that project. MAHRA § 512(10) and 513, 111 Stat. 1389. Among other things, the PAE assesses whether there is "adequate[,] available and affordable" alternative housing in the particular market, MAHRA § 515(c)(1)(A), 111 Stat. 1397, and analyzes the prop erty's rent level, debt and expenses, as well as its repair and reserve needs. 24 C.F.R. 401.410-411, 401.451-453. Congress created a specific role for local governments and other interested parties in the lengthy restructuring process, mandating notice and an opportunity to partici pate. MAHRA § 514(f), 111 Stat. 1394; see also 24 C.F.R. 401.500(a), 401.501(b)(1).

The final Restructuring Plan must "require" the owner to rehabilitate the property as necessary and to provide adequate reserves to maintain it in decent and safe condition pursuant to established standards. MAHRA § 514(e)(5), 111 Stat. 1393. The keystone of MAHRA, however, is Section 514(e)(6), which mandates significant use restrictions on the property. That provi sion specifies that the Restructuring Plan "shall * * * require the owner or purchaser of the project to main tain affordability and use restrictions in accordance with regulations promulgated by [HUD], for a term of not less than 30 years." MAHRA § 514(e)(6), 111 Stat. 1393. In addition, those use restrictions "shall be * * * con tained in a legally enforceable document recorded in the appropriate records" and "shall be * * * consistent with the long-term physical and financial viability and character of the project as affordable housing." MAHRA § 514(e)(6)(A) and (B), 111 Stat. 1393; see 24 C.F.R. 401.408(a). Thus, the statutorily required use restrictions are a form of covenant that runs with the land. Congress has accordingly directed HUD or the PAE to "ensure long-term compliance" with MAHRA and the "binding contractual agreements with owners" executed thereunder. MAHRA § 519(a), 111 Stat. 1404; see 24 C.F.R. 401.550.

2. a. Evergreen Terrace I and II are multifamily properties that have long provided housing to low-in come residents of the respondent City of Joliet, Illinois (the City). HUD acquired both properties through fore closure and sold each to their current owners, petition ers New West, L.P., and New Bluff, L.P. (collectively, New West), for $1 in the early 1980s. HUD insured New West's 40-year mortgages on Evergreen Terrace under Section 221 of the National Housing Act (NHA), 12 U.S.C. 1715l. In return, New West became subject to Regulatory Agreements explicitly incorporated into the mortgages, as authorized by the NHA, 12 U.S.C. 1715l(d)(4). Those agreements required New West to maintain Evergreen Terrace's 356 units as low-income housing for families eligible for housing assistance un der Section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937, 42 U.S.C. 1437f.

b. In November 2001, New West informed HUD of its desire to restructure its Evergreen Terrace debt un der MAHRA, thereby triggering the statute's manda tory process. See Pet. App. 6a. HUD selected the Illi nois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) to serve as the PAE. IHDA found "a critical need" to preserve Evergreen Terrace. C.A. App. 100. When the City, which participated in the restructuring process, chal lenged IHDA's findings, HUD hired another PAE, Heskin Signet Partners, to perform a second analysis. Heskin Signet confirmed IHDA's findings: there is "a compelling need to preserve the housing stock repre sented by Evergreen Terrace I and II due to the abso lute lack of alternative housing for the approximately 600 current residents." Id. at 101. Heskin Signet then developed a plan for the cost-effective rehabilitation and ongoing maintenance of the property.

On the basis of the two independent PAE analyses and after meetings with the City, New West, and ten ants, HUD approved a final Restructuring Plan for Ev ergreen Terrace in September 2006. Two months later, New West obtained a mortgage from HUD to replace its prior HUD-insured mortgage, and it executed and re corded the 30-year Use Agreements required by MAHRA Section 514(e)(6). New Regulatory Agree ments and contracts for Section 8 housing assistance for the tenants were also executed. C.A. App. 102.

3. In 2005, after the issuance of both PAE reports and as the restructuring process was nearing comple tion, the City declared Evergreen Terrace to be a "pub lic nuisance," and it enacted an ordinance condemning the property. C.A. App. 312-313, 315-318. Through its exercise of eminent domain, the City proposes to tear down Evergreen Terrace and to redevelop the property for uses other than low-income housing. Id. at 316. Soon after passing the ordinance, the City filed this con demnation action in state court, and the case was re moved to federal district court. See Pet. App. 4a.

HUD and New West raised preemption and other defenses to the City's action. As HUD explained, Con gress created the MAHRA restructured financing pro cess in order to preserve the nation's stock of low-in come housing in partnership with the private sector. HUD argued that the City's proposed condemnation of Evergreen Terrace and diversion of the property to uses other than low-income housing-without HUD's con sent-would pose "an 'obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Con gress'" in MAHRA. Wyeth v. Levine, 129 S. Ct. 1187, 1201 (2009) (quoting Hines v. Davidowitz, 312 U.S. 52, 67 (1941)). HUD therefore contended that, under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution (Art. VI, Cl. 2) and implied conflict preemption, the City's proposed taking of Evergreen Terrace must yield to the agency's determination in the MAHRA restructuring process that the property can and must be preserved in order to meet the "compelling need" for such housing in the com munity. C.A. App. 101.

The City moved for judgment on the pleadings with respect to the parties' preemption defense, and the dis trict court granted its motion. Pet. App. 30a-42a. Rely ing on a discussion of different statutes in a related case in which HUD was not a party, see New West, L.P. v. City of Joliet, 491 F.3d 717, 721 (7th Cir. 2007), the dis trict court held that MAHRA does not preempt the City's proposed exercise of its eminent domain power. Pet. App. 40a-41a. In a later order, the district court denied motions for summary judgment filed by HUD and New West, which argued, among other things, that the City's action was barred by the Property Clause of the Constitution (Art. IV, § 3, Cl. 2). Pet. App. 19a-29a.2

HUD and New West petitioned the district court to certify for interlocutory review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1292(b) its order rejecting their implied preemption de fense. New West also asked the district court to certify its order rejecting certain other defenses that it had raised in its summary judgment motion. The court granted HUD's and New West's requests, and the court of appeals accepted review.

4. The court of appeals affirmed. It found no "clear statement" or "federal command" in the housing laws at issue that preempted the City's ordinance authorizing the condemnation of Evergreen Terrace, explaining that the "findings" and "purposes" provisions of those stat utes were insufficient to establish Congress's intent to preempt. Pet. App. 12a-14a. Relying on Wyeth, 129 S. Ct. at 1199-1204, the court of appeals further found it significant that there was no "preemptive regulation with the force of law." Pet. App. 8a; see also id. at 11a, 12a. The court concluded that there was no clash of goals and objectives because several HUD regulations demonstrated the agency's intent not to preempt the condemnation of federally subsidized housing for low- income families. Id. at 8a-10a. The court also found it "hard to see any conflict between federal and state goals" because participation in the involved low-income housing program is not "compulsory," and "it is not a violation of federal law for a given owner to remain out side the program." Id. at 9a.

Thus, according to the court of appeals, "there is no affirmative declaration of preemption in any statute or rule, no concrete conflict between condemnation and any part of [MAHRA], and no good reason to think that [MAHRA] contravenes HUD's own regulations under § 8 and [NHA] § 221." Pet. App. 11a. The court added:

It might be sensible to enact a system under which HUD could certify a lack of affordable housing in a given locale and thus block any steps to diminish the existing stock. But no federal statute gives HUD this authority, let alone one that can be exercised without notice to the cities whose powers will be di minished.

Id. at 15a.

The court of appeals also rejected several additional arguments advanced by New West and the tenants based on the Contract and Property Clauses of the Con stitution (Art. I, § 10, Cl. 1; Art. IV. § 3, Cl. 2) and the principle of intergovernmental immunity. Pet. App. 17a- 18a. The court found no authority holding that "the Property Clause (or any other part of the Constitution) treats a federal loan as immunizing the borrower from state regulation (including eminent domain) on the the ory that the state is 'really' regulating the federal inter est as a lender." Id. at 18a. HUD, New West, and the tenants sought rehearing en banc, and the court denied the petitions. Id. at 43a-44a.

ARGUMENT

The court of appeals erred in ruling that MAHRA does not preempt the City's condemnation of Evergreen Terrace. HUD determined, in the extensive MAHRA process in which the City participated, that Evergreen Terrace could be rehabilitated and must be preserved in order to meet the "compelling need" for low-income housing in the Joliet community. C.A. App. 101. HUD accordingly provided New West with restructured fi nancing for the property, and, in return, New West agreed in a recorded, "legally enforceable" document- as MAHRA Section 514(e)(6) explicitly requires-to maintain the property as low-income housing for at least 30 years. The City now seeks to override that process and to veto HUD's determination by condemning Ever green Terrace and diverting the property to other uses. That effort is contrary to the cooperative, participatory role that Congress prescribed for local governments in the MAHRA restructuring process and presents "an 'ob stacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress'" in MAHRA. Wyeth v. Levine, 129 S. Ct. 1187, 1201 (2009) (quoting Hines v. Davidowitz, 312 U.S. 52, 67 (1941)). The City's condemnation ordinance and action are therefore pre empted.

Nonetheless, review by this Court is not warranted at the present time. This case is the first in which a State or local government has sought to condemn, with out HUD's consent, a property that has undergone MAHRA restructuring. The Court's ultimate resolution of the preemption question presented by both petitions would benefit from further consideration in the lower courts. Similarly, the Property Clause question pre sented by New West's petition for a writ of certiorari has not previously been addressed by any other court of appeals. Further review therefore is not warranted.

A. 1. a. The court of appeals erred in relying on the absence of "a preemptive regulation with the force of law" in concluding that preemption could not be "in ferred from a clash of goals and objectives" in the con text of this case. Pet. App. 8a.; see id. at 11a, 12a. The court based that conclusion on this Court's recent deci sion in Wyeth, 129 S. Ct. at 1199-1204. But neither Wyeth nor any other decision of this Court holds that a preemptive regulation is necessary in order to find "frustration of purpose" preemption. In fact, this Court rejected that argument in Geier v. American Honda Motor Co., 529 U.S. 861 (2000):

To insist on a specific expression of agency intent to pre-empt, made after notice-and-comment rule making, would be in certain cases to tolerate con flicts that an agency, and therefore Congress, is most unlikely to have intended. The dissent * * * appar ently welcomes that result, at least where "frustra tion-of-purpos[e]" pre-emption by agency regulation is at issue. * * * We do not.

Id. at 885.

Wyeth is not to the contrary. There, the Court found no preemption because, it concluded, state failure-to- warn claims did not present an obstacle to the accom plishment of the purposes of federal drug labeling re quirements. 129 S. Ct. at 1204. The Court declined to give deference to the position of the Food and Drug Ad ministration (FDA) that there was preemption, because that position was expressed only in a preamble to a rule, was contrary to "Congress' purposes" in the federal drug laws, and was a reversal of FDA's "own longstand ing position without * * * a reasoned explanation" or "any discussion of how state law has interfered" with federal regulation. Id. at 1201. Citing Geier, supra, the Court explained that "an agency regulation with the force of law can pre-empt conflicting state require ments." Wyeth, 129 S. Ct. at 1200. But the Court noted that, even when such a regulation exists, the Court has "performed its own conflict determination, relying on the substance of state and federal law and not on agency proclamations of pre-emption." Id. at 1200-1201.

Thus, while Wyeth reaffirmed that a properly pro mulgated agency regulation can preempt state law, 129 S. Ct. at 1200, Wyeth does not support the weight the court of appeals attached to the absence of such a regu lation here.

b. The court of appeals also misunderstood the na ture of the lengthy MAHRA restructuring process pre scribed by Congress. The court acknowledged that "[i]t might be sensible to enact a system under which HUD could certify a lack of affordable housing in a given lo cale and thus block any steps to diminish the existing stock." Pet. App. 15a. The court mistakenly concluded, however, that "no federal statute gives HUD this au thority, let alone one that can be exercised without no tice to the cities whose powers will be diminished." Ibid. In fact, the "sensible" process the court of appeals pos ited is precisely what the MAHRA entails and what oc curred in this case.3

As explained above, before HUD can approve a Re structuring Plan, MAHRA requires an assessment of the "adequate[,] available and affordable housing" in the particular market. MAHRA § 515(c)(1)(A), 111 Stat 1397. In addition, the owner and PAE must evaluate the project's "rehabilitation needs," and the owner is "require[d] * * * to take such actions as may be neces sary to rehabilitate [the property], [to] maintain ade quate reserves, and to maintain the project in decent and safe condition." MAHRA § 514(e)(3) and (5), 111 Stat. 1393. Local governments are given notice and the opportunity to participate in the restructuring process. MAHRA § 514(f)(1) and (2), 111 Stat. 1394.

Pursuant to those statutory requirements, HUD ob tained two independent evaluations of the need for Ev ergreen Terrace, as well as the feasibility and cost of rehabilitating the property. Both reports concluded that there was a "compelling need" to preserve Evergreen Terrace because of "the absolute lack of alternative housing" in the Joliet area for Evergreen Terraces's 600 low-income residents. C.A. App. 101. The reports also concluded that Evergreen Terrace could be "repaired in a cost-effective manner." Ibid. Based on those analyses and other information obtained during the restructuring process, HUD approved the Restructuring Plan and provided new mortgages to New West, and New West executed the 30-year Use Agreements mandated by MAHRA Section 514(e)(6). And contrary to the court of appeals' suggestion that the MAHRA process is con ducted "without notice to the cities whose powers will be diminished," Pet. App. 15a, the City not only received the notice required by MAHRA Section 514(f) but also participated actively in the restructuring process. See New West, L.P. v. City of Joliet, No. 05-C-1743, 2006 WL 2632752, at *1-*2 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 8, 2006), rev'd, 491 F.3d 717 (7th Cir. 2007).

Thus, MAHRA prescribes an administrative process that essentially constitutes the "sensible" system the court of appeals acknowledged would preempt the City's condemnation action. Pet. App. 15a. That process, which is established by the statute itself, makes unnec essary a HUD regulation specifically stating MAHRA's preemptive effect.4

c. The court of appeals erred in reasoning that MAHRA lacks preemptive effect because it permits, but does not mandate, property owners to restructure their financing under its terms. See Pet. App. 9a. That prop osition is inconsistent with Fidelity Federal Savings & Loan Ass'n v. de la Cuesta, 458 U.S. 141 (1982), which held that a Federal Home Loan Bank Board (the Board) regulation that permitted, but did not require, federal savings and loan associations to include "due-on-sale" clauses in their mortgage contracts preempted state law that restricted the use of such clauses. This Court rea soned that such state law posed an obstacle to an objec tive that the Board considered essential and, in address ing an argument similar to the view of the court of ap peals, stated that "[t]he conflict [between federal and state law] does not evaporate because the Board's regu lation simply permits, but does not compel, federal sav ings and loans to include due-on-sale clauses in their contracts." Id. at 155-156.

While the decision to participate in a federally subsi dized low-income housing program is voluntary, once a private owner decides to participate, federal law im poses requirements on that owner and regulates its par ticipation in the program. Thus, the focus must be on what Congress intended when it created the program and imposed those requirements, not on whether partici pation in the program is voluntary or mandatory. See Wyeth, 129 S. Ct. at 1194 ("the purpose of Congress is the ultimate touchstone in every pre-emption case") (ci tation omitted).

2. Despite the errors in the decision below, this Court's review is not warranted. This is the first case in which a state or local government has sought to con demn and divert to a different use a federally subsidized housing property that has undergone restructuring un der MAHRA and that is therefore subject to the stat ute's 30-year use restriction.

a. In their petition for a writ of certiorari, the Ever green Terrace tenants contend that the circuits are di vided on whether a federal preemptive regulation with the force of law is necessary to a finding of implied pre emption. 09-445 Pet. 17-24. The court of appeals in this case does not appear to have held that such a regulation is always necessary. See Pet. App. 9a, 10a-11a. By the same token, that issue was not squarely presented in the courts of appeals cases upon which the tenants rely. In City of Morgan City v. South Louisiana Electric Coop erative Ass'n, 31 F.3d 319, 324 (5th Cir. 1994), cert. de nied, 516 U.S. 908 (1995) (Morgan City), and Public Utility District No. 1 of Pend Oreille County v. United States, 417 F.2d 200, 201 (9th Cir. 1969) (Pend Oreille), the courts of appeals held that a local jurisdiction's at tempt to condemn certain property of a utility financed by the federal government under the Rural Electrifica tion Act of 1936 (REAct), 7 U.S.C. 901 et seq., was pre empted because it would frustrate the accomplishment of Congress's goals and objectives under that act.5

As in this case, the federal government's preemption argument in Morgan City and Pend Oreille was based on the effect of the governing statutory scheme and did not rely on a preemptive regulation. Thus, the holdings in Morgan City and Pend Oreille implicitly suggest that a preemptive regulation with the force of law is not nec essary for a finding of implied preemption. But the need for a regulation vel non does not appear to have been raised in either case, and neither court addressed the issue. And in any event, this Court's decision in Geier, 529 U.S. at 885, makes clear that a federal regulation can preempt state law but is not required in all instances of implied preemption.

Morgan City and Pend Oreille also demonstrate that a sovereign's historic power of eminent domain is not absolute or immune to implied preemption by federal law.6 In a general sense, those decisions are thus in ten- sion with the result and reasoning of the decision below. See Pet. App. 16a-17a. But because the preemption in quiry is necessarily statute-specific, there is also no di rect conflict between Morgan City and Pend Oreille and the decision in this case.

b. The Evergreen Terrace tenants further contend that the circuits are divided on whether the voluntary nature of participation in a federal program is relevant to the preemption inquiry. 09-445 Pet. 25-26 (citing Morgan City, 31 F.3d at 324; Pend Oreille, 417 F.2d at 202-203; and Forest Park II v. Hadley, 336 F.3d 724 (8th Cir. 2003) (Forest Park)). There is no direct conflict among the circuits on that issue.

It is true that, although participation in the federal rural electrification program is not compulsory, the courts in Morgan City and Pend Oreille held that fed eral law preempted the proposed condemnation of coop erative utility property financed under the REAct. And in Forest Park II, 336 F.3d at 731-734, the court held that a state law that effectively prevented the owner of federally subsidized housing from voluntarily withdraw ing from the particular housing program was preempted because it interfered with the framework established by Congress. Thus, the voluntary nature of the federal programs at issue in all three cases did not preclude a finding of preemption. Nonetheless, because those deci sions did not address that factor, they do not squarely conflict with the position articulated in the decision be low.

c. New West argues that review of the court of ap peals preemption ruling is warranted because the court failed to address the fact that "Congress expressly dele gated to HUD the power to decide whether and how Evergreen Terrace should be preserved as affordable housing for the next 30 years." 09-435 Pet. 20. Accord ing to New West, HUD's determination in that regard is entitled to deference because the agency was "acting within the scope of its congressionally delegated author ity." Id. at 21 (quoting New York v. FERC, 535 U.S. 1, 18 (2002)).

New West's argument, however, is misplaced. As the Court explained in New York, 535 U.S. at 17, whether Congress has delegated to a federal agency the author ity to displace state action is a "quite different legal question[]" from whether state law conflicts with federal law. This case involves only the latter question. Delega tion can arise as an issue when an agency has promul gated a regulation or rendered a decision expressing an intent to preempt state law and that determination is challenged as beyond the scope of the agency's statutory authority. See, e.g., City of New York v. FCC, 486 U.S. 57 (1988). There is no such regulation or order in this case.

B. The portion of the decision below rejecting New West's argument that the Property Clause prevents the City from exercising its eminent domain power over Ev ergreen Terrace also does not warrant review. See 09- 435 Pet. 25-28. The court recognized that HUD has an interest as "a secured creditor" of New West, but it found no basis for concluding that the Property Clause "treats a federal loan as immunizing the borrower from state regulation (including eminent domain) on the the ory that the state is 'really' regulating the federal inter est as a lender." Pet. App. 18a.

The federal government's property interest in Ever green Terrace is more significant than the court of ap peals' discussion suggests. The Property Clause of the Constitution (Art. IV, § 3, Cl. 2) gives Congress the power "to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States." This Court has inter preted Congress's power concerning "other Property" expansively to include the "regulation of all other per sonal and real property rightfully belonging to the United States." Ashwander v. TVA, 297 U.S. 288, 331 (1936) (citation omitted). See generally Kleppe v. New Mexico, 426 U.S. 529, 538-541 (1976) (Property Clause power reaches beyond territorial limits). The interests of the United States, first as mortgage-insurer and then as mortgage-holder for Evergreen Terrace, are there fore property interests within the meaning of the Prop erty Clause.

In California Coastal Commission v. Granite Rock Co., 480 U.S. 572 (1987), however, this Court explained that "'the State is free to enforce its criminal and civil laws' on federal land so long as those laws do not conflict with federal law. The Property Clause itself does not automatically conflict with all state regulation of federal land." Id. at 580 (citing Kleppe, 426 U.S. at 543). The Court therefore concluded that, despite Congress's "plenary power" over federal property, "even within the sphere of the Property Clause, state law is pre-empted only when it conflicts with the operation or objectives of federal law, or when Congress 'evidences an intent to occupy a given field.'" Id. at 593 (citation omitted). Thus, a Property Clause issue ultimately requires con sideration of the same factors that apply to preemption under the relevant federal statutes. The Property Clause does not provide an independent defense to the City's proposed condemnation of Evergreen Terrace.

In any event, no other court of appeals has had occa sion to address the effect of the Property Clause on the proposed condemnation of federally subsidized low-in come housing. Further review of that issue is accord ingly not warranted.

CONCLUSION

The petitions for a writ of certiorari should be de nied.

Respectfully submitted.

ELENA KAGAN
Solicitor General
TONY WEST
Assistant Attorney General
MICHAEL S. RAAB
CHRISTINE N. KOHL
Attorneys

JANUARY 2010

1 All references to "Pet. App." are to the appendix in No. 09-435.

2 Several Evergreen Terrace tenants-petitioners in No. 09-445- intervened as defendants in the City's action in January 2008. Pet. App. 28a-29a.

3 The court of appeals mistakenly believed that HUD's preemption argument rested solely on the NHA and MAHRA "findings" and "pur poses" clauses, overlooking, in particular, the operative provisions of MAHRA cited and discussed by HUD. See Pet. App. 8a, 12a-14a.

4 The decision below also appeared to rest on two incorrect factual assumptions. First, the court cited various HUD regulations that refer to the condemnation of low-income housing properties, see Pet. App. 10a (citing 24 C.F.R. 245.405, 248.101 and 970.3), and questioned "the point of a special rule for applying the proceeds of condemnation if, as HUD argues, condemnation is always preempted." Ibid. But apart from the fact that the cited regulations implement different housing programs not at issue here, HUD has never contended that a city's con demnation of any federally subsidized low-income housing project is always preempted by federal law. The key factor is HUD's determina tion of the viability of and need for the project in accordance with statu tory mandates for the particular federal housing program involved.

Second, the court stated that "[p]rivate owners are entitled to with draw their properties from the program at any time despite their 20-year and 30-year promises" by paying off their federally insured loans. Pet. App. 9a (citing 24 C.F.R. Pt. 248). That is incorrect. The regulatory provisions the court cited as support for that assertion were promulgated under a different statute. See Emergency Low Income Housing Preservation Act of 1987, 12 U.S.C. 1715l note; Low-Income Housing Preservation and Resident Homeownership Act of 1990, 12 U.S.C. 4101 et seq. Prepayment of a loan on a property that has un dergone MAHRA restructuring does not extinguish the statutorily mandated and recorded 30-year use restriction.

5 Cf. Arkansas Elec. Coop. Corp. v. Arkansas Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 461 U.S. 375, 388-389 (1983) (if the federal government changes policy and announces that state rate regulation of rural power cooperatives is inconsistent with federal policy, "it would of course pre-empt" state action); City of Stilwell v. Ozarks Rural Elec. Coop. Corp., 79 F.3d 1038, 1045 (10th Cir. 1996) (REAct did not preempt condemnation, where facts and particular statutory provisions differed from those at issue in Morgan City and Pend Oreille, and federal government did not oppose condemnation).

6 Similarly, Hayfield N. R.R. v. Chicago & N. W. Transp. Co., 467 U.S. 622 (1984), confirms that a State's invocation of the power of emi nent domain does not preclude a finding of preemption. While holding that there was no preemption of the use of state eminent domain au thority to condemn a segment of railroad track that had been aban doned pursuant to federal law, id. at 637, the Court reached that con clusion only after thorough consideration of implied preemption argu ments.