PLF’s Gaziano to testify to Congress about Origination Clause

PLF’s Todd Gaziano will be testifying on April 29 before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice regarding the Original Meaning of the Origination Clause. That, of course, is the provision of the Constitution that requires all bills for raising revenue to originate in the House of Representatives and not in the Senate–and it’s the clause at issue in our lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare, which will be argued May 8. (Gaziano will be testifying on behalf of PLF and not of our client in that case, Matt Sissel.) That hearing is at 10am in Room 2141 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Schuette victory: The Scalia concurrence

Justices Scalia and Thomas counted for two of the six votes in favor of Proposal 2′s constitutionality.  Unlike Justice Kennedy, however, Justice Scalia’s opinion — joined by Justice Thomas — would not save the political structure doctrine.  Scalia’s concurrence argues that Hunter and Seattle should be left on the ash heap of history.   Continue reading

Schuette victory: The plurality (Kennedy) opinion

As I predicted last year, Justice Breyer voted to uphold Proposal 2.  With Justice Kagan’s recusal, that means the Court voted 6-2 in favor of the constitutionality of the Michigan Amendment. Despite the overwhelming support for the constitutionality of Proposal 2, the Justices differed greatly on their reasoning.  In this post, I discuss the lead opinion from Justice Kennedy, which was joined by the Chief Justice and Justice Alito.  I will tackle the subsequent opinions in future posts.  Continue reading

Why buy the land when you can get it for free?

Parkway_EntranceWhy local governments fail to understand the Fifth Amendment takings clause, I will never know. It’s only been the law for 220 years or so, after all. It is rare that I can open the paper – or read a news site – and not discover a new example of an old problem: the government taking property without paying for the taking.

We see this happen in New Jersey quite often — in fact, Jonathan Wood just blogged about another case in NJ just yesterday. And we filed an amicus brief supporting a different New Jersey property owner yesterday, as well.

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Supreme Court victory in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action

After eight years of litigation, Michigan’s decision to ban governmental racial classifications has been upheld by the Supreme Court. PLF has been heavily involved in this case since its inception — we represented the ballot sponsors — and this decision is great news.  You can read the opinion here.  I’ll have more on the opinion later in the day.

The Common Core blues: one size education doesn’t fit all

Below is a collaboration between singer/songwriter Scott Simpson and South Dakota high school teachers, aptly titled,  “The Common Core blues.”  This lament may become the anthem for teachers across America, as states continue to accept the bribes inducements the federal government is offering in exchange for adopting Common Core.

h/t Heartland Institute

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Déjà vu: another court disregards precedent and property rights

More than 10 years ago, PLF won an important property rights victory in the U.S. Supreme Court — Palazzolo v. Rhode Island. That case held that government cannot “put an expiration date on the Takings Clause” by forbidding any property owner from challenging the constitutionality of any regulation that existed at the time they purchased it even if the regulation severely restricted their use of the property and its value.

The lower courts have declined to faithfully implement this ruling because the standard for determining whether a regulatory taking has occurred includes consideration of the property owners “investment-backed expectations.” They continue to presume that a property owner could not expect, when she purchases property, that she will enjoy the protections of the Constitution against preexisting regulations.

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AED lawsuit threatens youth sports with liability overload

Later this year, the Florida Supreme Court will consider a lawsuit that seeksaed_sign-web to expand liability against public schools – and others – for failure to use an automatic external defibrillator (AED) in treating an emergency. PLF will file an amicus brief in the case, and last week the Tampa Tribune published our op-ed on the case. The piece begins: Continue reading

President’s weekly report — April 18, 2014

Property Rights — California Coastal Commission

We filed our brief in Lynch v. California Coastal Commission.  Here, the Commission is 1) refusing to allow a pair of homeowners to repair some storm-damaged beach stairs unless the stairs are dedicated for public use and, 2) refusing to allow for the construction of a new seawall (to replace one that was destroyed in a storm) unless the homeowners agree that the seawall will have only a 20-year term, after which it must go through a new permitting process (with, no doubt, the attendant mitigation measures.)  The trial court tossed out these conditions and the Commission has appealed.  For more, see our blog here.

The Court of Appeal granted our motion for a rehearing in SDS Family Trust v. California Commission. That’s the case where the Coastal Commission is demanding a public trail easement in exchange for a permit to repair a home and rebuild a barn that had fallen down.

Property Rights — Spot Zoning

We filed this amicus brief in Griepenburg v. Township of Ocean before the New Jersey Supreme Court.  Here Ocean Township decided to downzone the Griepenburg’s 29 acres to one home per 20 acres.  The property is bounded by the New Jersey Parkway on one side and by developed subdivisions on the remaining sides. The appellate court found that there was no good reason for the downzoning and tossed it out.  The case is now on appeal. Continue reading

Stossel Show featuring PLF client John Duarte to re-air Saturday, April 19, 7 p.m. Pacific on Fox News Channel

Last night I appeared with client John Duarte on the Stossel Show with John Stossel, discussing our case against the Corps of Engineers for violating Duarte Nursery‘s due process rights.  The show will re-air tomorrow night, April 19, at 10 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Pacific, on the Fox News Channel.