Stand with Edmund

Earlier this year, ten-year-old Edmund Lee, Jr., was reading about Rosa Parks, a great civil rights crusader in her time. Now Edmund is fighting for his own civil rights.

Edmund and his mother La’Shieka, with the help of PLF, are battling a discriminatory St. Louis transfer program that prohibits black students — and only black students — in St. Louis County from transferring to schools in the City. Today PLF filed Edmund’s reply brief in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Our brief requests what the Constitution demands: Equality for Edmund, equality for all.

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Who will Trump nominate to the Supreme Court?

The short answer is, someone on his published list, first issued this past May and expanded in October. I wrote about why we should anticipate that Trump will stick to the list for his first Supreme Court nominee, this month in the Daily Journal. My bottom line to those on the left (and a few on the right) who expect the worst of a Trump presidency:

Given what they fear from a Trump administration, I encourage my liberal and progressive friends to rediscover and embrace an independent judiciary that serves as a check on unilateral presidential action, that independently interprets the law rather than deferring to what the president says it reads, and which prioritizes constitutional governance and individual liberty over letting the president have his way simply because he is the president.

You can read the whole piece here if you are not a subscriber to the Daily Journal.

Who will be nominate to SCOTUS? Read the List.

Who will be nominated to SCOTUS? Read the List.

In the spirit of gratitude … we say, “thank you”

For more than 40 years, Pacific Legal Foundation has been defending the constitution and rescuing liberty from coast to coast. But we haven’t done it alone. As we finish up Thanksgiving week and the preparations and celebrations fade into memories, we at PLF will continue the spirit of gratitude all-year-round.

To our donors and supporters who have enabled us to help people whose voices would not otherwise be heard, thank you. We appreciate you more than you can know.

A quick win for free enterprise and free speech

In September, PLF took on the City of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., by filing a federal free speech lawsuit challenging the city’s ban on displaying for-sale signs in cars. Our client, Michael Cefali, was fined fined for parking his car in front of his home with a for-sale sign–and, after some research, determined that hundreds of others had been hit with similar fines by the city in recent years. This month, we dismissed that case in victory because the city responded to the litigation by quickly and fully repealing the speech ban. Continue reading

Environmental extremists dismiss property rights

Over on the Huffington Post, Noah Greenwald of the Center for Biological Diversity launches an over-the-top broadside against several people involved in the incoming President’s administration. The part that is most illuminating about how some extremists think is this missive directed at the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Myron Ebell, who’s working on the transition at EPA:

Early in his career, [Myron] worked for Arizona Congressman John Shadegg in an effort to rewrite the [Endangered Species Act] to make it “more respectful of private property rights.” That’s almost always code for short-changing endangered animals and plants in favor of development, sprawl and profits.

That’s right. For CBD, property rights—which are expressly protected by the Constitution— are not core human rights, but merely code for things it doesn’t like. If, unlike CBD, you take property rights seriously, Myron explained his views at a 2015 event co-hosted by PLF and CEI [Myron’s comments begin at 32:00; mine at 35:00].

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Happy Thanksgiving from PLF!

happythanksgivingDear PLF supporters,

When the Pierce family sits down for Thanksgiving dinner this year, we will be grateful for the extended family from PLF that came to our aid this year when all hope seemed lost in our battle against the federal government.

Ours was a true “David vs. Goliath” battle – officials at the U.S. Corps of Engineers labeled one of our peat farms a “wetland” and subject to strict control under the Clean Water Act. We were given no opportunity to challenge this decree in court. We were backed into a corner with nowhere to turn.

That’s when you, other PLF supporters, and PLF’s legal team rallied to my family’s side. PLF attorneys examined all of the facts and argued our case at the Supreme Court. All the justices soundly renounced the Corps’ unconstitutional treatment of our family and ruled that all property owners deserve their day in court to challenge government’s “wetlands” determinations.

So this Thanksgiving, I want to thank you for helping me win this victory for my family, and for all landowners, large and small, to have access to the courts when their rights and individual liberty are at risk.

kpierceFrom the Pierce family to your family, Happy Thanksgiving! 

Sincerely,

Kevin Pierce
Vice President, Hawkes Company, Inc.

Is the government excused from following its own laws?

The answer is no.

The California Endangered Species Act requires the Department of Fish and Wildlife to conduct status reviews of species listed as threatened or endangered every five years. PLF sued to enforce the Act, after the Department failed to conduct mandatory reviews for 233 species.

The Department now wants to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that no one is harmed by its failure to follow California law. Today PLF filed its opposition.

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Vilify critics now, send money

My friend, Myron Ebell, at the conservative / libertarian think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute has become a chief fund raiser for all sorts of liberal green groups in this post-election season of hand-wringing. How did this happen?burling

At the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Myron has long been skeptical of many of the claims made by the global warming community. And climate change professionals are, if nothing else, hostile to those who disagree with the orthodoxy.

But up until now, about the best they could do to silence Myron was for the Attorney General of the Virgin Islands to issue a stupendously broad subpoena, demanding the complete repository of CEI’s work for the last three decades or so on climate change and every scrap of data relating to its fund-raising. Those forays into legal intimidation were easily brushed back by CEI. About all those efforts accomplished was to raise the profile of CEI.

But now that President-Elect Trump has made Myron the head of his transition team dealing with the Environmental Protection Agency, the skeptics have finally learned that they can both abuse Myron and make lots of money off of him. Continue reading

Defending the free speech rights of retailers

Yesterday, PLF teamed up with its friends at the Cato Institute to file a joint amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in defense of retailers’ First Amendment rights, in Expressions Hair Design, et al. v. Schneiderman.   Continue reading

PLF challenges Oklahoma law that stifles American Indian artist’s speech and right to earn a living

Peggy Fontenot. By Brian Feulner.

Peggy Fontenot is an award-winning American Indian photographer and artist, specializing in hand-made beaded jewelry and cultural items. For more than 30 years, Ms. Fontenot has traveled the country to show and sell her American Indian art. Because of Oklahoma’s deep connections with American Indian history and culture, Ms. Fontenot has regularly participated in art shows and festivals in the state.

In the summer of 2016, the Oklahoma Legislature passed a law that prohibits Ms. Fontenot from describing or marketing her art as “American Indian-made.” At the urging of large, politically connected tribes, the legislature modified the definition of “Indian tribe.” Now, only members of federally recognized tribes may market and describe their art as “American Indian-made.” Because this law violates Ms. Fontenot’s constitutional rights, today she joined with PLF to challenge the law with a federal constitutional lawsuit against the Attorney General of Oklahoma. Continue reading