Florida can't enforce law blocking real estate purchases by Chinese citizens against 2 plaintiffs, court rules
A federal appeals court has ruled that a Florida law barring real estate purchases by Chinese citizens can’t be enforced against two plaintiffs while their court challenge continues. Image from Shutterstock.
A federal appeals court has ruled that a Florida law barring real estate purchases by Chinese citizens can’t be enforced against two plaintiffs while their court challenge continues.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Atlanta said the plaintiffs had shown a substantial likelihood of success on their claim that the Florida statute is preempted by federal law. The appeals court blocked enforcement against two plaintiffs with pending real estate transactions.
The federal law establishes a system for security review of real estate purchases by foreign nationals, according to a Feb. 1 press release by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, which seeks to protect and promote the civil rights of Asian Americans.
The Florida law, Senate Bill 264, generally bars any real-property purchases in the state by any person whose permanent domicile is in China and who is not a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
People domiciled in other countries “of concern” who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents may buy Florida property—unless it is within 10 miles of a military installation or critical infrastructure facility.
In a concurrence, Judge Nancy G. Abudu said she agreed that the plaintiffs were likely to prevail on their preemption argument. But she would have also granted the preliminary injunction based on a second ground— that the law likely violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
Abudu acknowledged U.S. Supreme Court precedent holding that any state can deny aliens the right to own land within its borders. But the Supreme Court has since called into question that decision, Terrace v. Thompson, and the cases that followed, Abudu said.
Abudu is an appointee of President Joe Biden. Other judges on the panel are Judge Kevin Newsom, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, and Judge Adalberto Jordan, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton.
The case is Shen v. Commissioner, Florida Department of Agriculture.
The plaintiffs are a real estate company and Chinese immigrants who can’t buy a home in Florida, even though they live, work and raise families there.
The plaintiffs are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Florida, the DeHeng Law Offices, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.