Race-based redistricting heads back to the Supreme Court

On November 12, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a pair of legislative reapportionment cases: Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama and Alabama Democratic Conference v. Alabama.  Plaintiffs in these cases contend that the Alabama legislature violated the … Continue reading

Happy Constitution Day 2014

Today Americans celebrate the 227th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution by the delegates of the Philadelphia Convention in 1787. Only three delegates who stayed to the end declined to sign the document and two of those, George Mason and Elbridge Gerry, later supported it with the promise that a bill of rights would be added.

Convention President, George Washington, was greatly impressed with the result. Most Americans and foreigners have revered it ever since. In 1878, for example, the once and future Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, William Gladstone, wrote that the U.S. Constitution was “the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man,” and that was after our Civil War had shown the need to amend it to prohibit slavery and ensure greater protections for individual liberty and equal treatment under law.

In an op-ed published on Townhall.com today, I describe the sustained attacks on the structure of our Constitution by progressive theorists who were openly hostile to the separation of, and limitations on, the national government’s powers that prevented a concentration of authority in a centralized, national bureaucracy. I also mention the textualist/originalist revival in recent decades that is helping to restore the Constitution’s original protections.

At the Pacific Legal Foundation, we litigate every day to restore the liberty guaranteed in the real Constitution. That was even harder when PLF was founded in 1973, when there were fewer courtroom allies for limited government and a dominant legal culture that was dismissive of the Constitution’s original public meaning. But the intellectual climate has improved, due in part to PLF’s work and a growing awareness among citizens concerning the need to fight for our liberties and challenge the natural tendency of government elites to take and abuse more power than we have granted them.

And for interested citizens and scholars today, I am also happy to relate that Heritage Foundation has just published a revised version of The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, which has over 200 essays on each clause or amendment of the Constitution by 114 leading originalist scholars. The more citizens educate themselves about their liberties the harder it will be for government to take them away.

Can governments rely on outdated rationales to justify onerous regulation?

In 1952, Emmett Ashford became the first African American umpire in organized baseball and Dwight Eisenhower was elected President of the United States. That same year, the Pennsylvania legislature decided that funeral homes needed to be heavily regulated. Under a 1952 … Continue reading

President’s weekly report — September 12, 2014

Environment — When is a wetland not federally controlled? We filed this complaint this week in Universal Welding v. United States Army Corps of Engineers.  The Corps is asserting jurisdiction over some of Universal’s low-value wetlands in North Pole, Alaska, just … Continue reading

Water, water everywhere – in California courts

California is suffering an historic drought: there is not enough water to go around.  The state’s courthouses may be the only places that have had their fill of water of this year, or at least had their fill of fights … Continue reading

California appellate court issues disappointing decision in Encinitas seawall case, Lynch v. California Coastal Commission

Pacific Legal Foundation attorneys represent two bluff-top homeowners in Encinitas: Tom Frick, and his neighbor, Barbara Lynch. They applied to the California Coastal Commission for a permit to install a new seawall to protect their homes from erosion after a … Continue reading

President’s weekly report — September 5, 2014

Water rights and the public trust doctrine going underground We filed this amicus letter brief in Environmental Law Foundation v. State Water Resources Control Board asking the California Supreme Court to review a disturbing opinion from the Court of Appeal. Historically, the … Continue reading