Commerce Clause articles available

Two of my articles were recently published in the Kentucky Journal of Equine, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Law.  The first is entitled “Bringing in The Sheaves: Home Grown Wheat, Weed, And Limits on The Commerce Clause.”  This article  involves a … Continue reading

Stopping development for cheaper condemnation later is a taking

The Fifth Amendment requires the government to compensate a property owner when it takes property from a private landowner. To get around the requirement of paying “just compensation,” government entities often get creative. One trick is to depress property values … Continue reading

Daily Journal publishes PLF op ed on Horne v. U.S.D.A.

The Daily Journal in San Francisco and Los Angeles published an op ed I wrote about Horne v. U.S.D.A., also known as the “raisin takings case.”  As I reported, the U.S. Supreme Court recently granted cert in this case, for the second time.  The … Continue reading

You’re in the Army now: don’t follow the rules

Under the Clean Water Act, the United States Army Corps of Engineers regulates wetlands throughout the nation.  Owners must obtain a permit from the Corps to develop, build upon, or otherwise alter their properties, if those properties contain “jurisdictional wetlands.”  The Corps’ rules specifically exclude from the permitting requirement properties that are separated from other wetlands by man-made barriers, such as roads or dikes.  The problem:  in an effort to expand its authority, the Corps is ignoring the regulatory exclusion.

Representing a small Alaska company, Universal Welding, PLF filed a lawsuit last week against the Corps for requiring the company to obtain a permit to expand operations on its property, which is separated from a jurisdictional wetland by a county-owned public road.  A clearer man-made barrier could not exist.  Accordingly, Universal Welding’s property in Fairbanks, Alaska, qualifies for the regulatory exclusion.

But the Corps says it is not bound by its own rules and can require Universal Welding to obtain a permit.  Does the Corps care that it is ignoring the rules?  No. It has drafted lawyers from the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. to defend against PLF’s lawsuit, which is intended to enforce the rule of law against a bloated government bureaucracy seeking to impose its will in every corner of the nation under the guise of enforcing the Clean Water Act.  We will meet them in court.  Our motion for summary judgment can be found here:  MSJ – Universal Welding.

Congressmen at joint hearing express concern about “waters of the US” rule

As previewed here a few days ago, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee conducted a joint congressional hearing yesterday to consider a proposed “waters of the United States” regulation by the federal … Continue reading

Joint congressional hearing on “waters of the United States” rule seeks PLF input

On Wednesday, February 4, a rare joint hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee will examine a controversial draft rule by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps … Continue reading

President’s weekly report — January 23, 2015

Property Rights — New Jersey rejects takings claim The New Jersey Supreme Court issued this adverse ruling in Griepenburg v. Township of Ocean.  In that case the New Jersey Supreme Court held that a local government can zone a property … Continue reading

NY and NJ courts both reject property rights

Property owners in New York and New Jersey learned again this week that their state courts often reject property rights in favor of creative ways to take private property in a manner that violates the Fifth Amendment. In New York, the court upended a centuries-old settled … Continue reading