Constitutional outrages and power outages

Those are EPA’s gifts to the nation under the so-called Clean Power Plan.  On August 3rd, EPA unveiled the Plan as a set of Clean Air Act regulations.  Among other things, the Clean Power Plan dictates the mix of fuels that may be used to generate electricity throughout the nation, heavily favoring solar and wind over coal and natural gas, thereby furthering EPA’s goal of saving the planet from carbon dioxide.  The power grid will come under enormous pressure if and when the Clean Power Plan is implemented.  Power outages and substantial increases in electricity costs are virtually guaranteed.  Moreover, the Clean Power Plan is unconstitutional.

For decades, there has been a “bright line” divide between federal authority over wholesale sales of electricity in interstate commerce and state authority over planning, siting, and providing generation resources to local customers.  According to the Supreme Court, the 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the federal government from disrupting that traditional constitutional balance between state and federal authority unless it is “abundantly clear” that a federal statute “compels” the intrusion into state sovereignty.  Here, just the reverse is true,  It is “abundantly clear” that the Clean Air Act does not give EPA the authority to dictate to the states the specific way in which electricity must be generated within their borders.  Federalism is a central component of our constitutional system of government, and the Clean Power Plan ignores it.  Look for legal challenges from states (and others) against this federal attack on the 10th Amendment.

The federal government doesn’t make mistakes

In essence, that’s what a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit held in a recent decision regarding critical habitat designation under the Endangered Species Act. The National Marine Fisheries Service designated virtually the entire West Coast of the United States as … Continue reading

Class actions v. due process

In a case that will be heard next term, the Supreme Court will have to decide the limits of class action litigation.  In our amicus brief brief, PLF urges the Court to scrutinize those limits closely. In Bouaphakeo v. Tyson … Continue reading

Second Circuit upholds protectionist teeth-whitening policy in Sensational Smiles v. Mullen

In a recent disappointing opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the Connecticut Dental Commission’s policy of restricting the use of LED teeth-whitening lights to licensed dentists – despite the fact that dentists are not trained … Continue reading

Look how many people have to get government permission just to have a job

Last week’s White House report on occupational licensing laws details some offers some disturbing information about how these laws restrict economic opportunity for entrepreneurs, and raise the cost of living for consumers. Some highlights: More than a quarter, and possibly … Continue reading

Challenging Oakland’s public art mandate on Courting Liberty

PLF has filed a lawsuit to challenge the City of Oakland’s ordinance that requires developers of commercial and residential projects to fund public art works. In this week’s Courting Liberty, PLF Senior Staff Attorney Tony Francois discusses the ordinance and … Continue reading

White House licensing report: one bad recommendation

The new report from the White House about the problems with occupational licensing laws is a great step forward, given how little attention is paid to the fundamental human right of every person to earn a living without unreasonable government … Continue reading

White House licensing report: what can the feds do to protect the right to earn a living?

Last week, the Obama Administration released a report on the effects of occupational licensing, and calling for reforms that would better protect the rights of entrepreneurs and workers to earn a living without unreasonable government interference. This is a gratifying … Continue reading

PLF supports at-will employment in Michigan

Here at the Liberty Blog, we often write about the benefits of at-will employment for both the employee and the employer. A system that allows both sides to end the employment relationship for any reason or no reason not only … Continue reading

The government can’t call speech “conduct,” then require a license for it

If the First Amendment means anything, it means the right to speak freely without asking for permission first. Yet in Nebraska, you have to get a government license before advertising.  PLF client Leslie Young helps people to sell their homes … Continue reading