Can people without standing stop challenging school choice programs already?

The ACLU is attempting to destroy school choice in Nevada. Passed in June, the Educational Savings Account law provides between $5,100-$5,700 a year for a child’s education-including transportation, technology, or home schooling. The ACLU’s suit, filed in late August, is just … Continue reading

President’s weekly report — May 1, 2015

On the cusp of victory in Florida — In large part due to the publicity from our “growler” case, Crafted Keg v. Lawson, the Florida legislature has repealed the ban on “growlers,” the 64 ounce containers used for bringing craft … Continue reading

Supreme Court grants important “standing” case

Thomas Robins, an unemployed man, sued Spokeo Inc., which runs a website that collects and publishes consumer “credit estimates,” for willful violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), because it published false information, such as Robins was married, had … Continue reading

Oral argument in PLF’s challenge to EPA’s mobile source greenhouse gas rules held on January 9, 2015

On Friday, January 9, 2015, the D.C. Circuit heard our challenges to the greenhouse gas emissions standards for new trucks and cars.  The challenges were based on EPA’s failure to submit to the Science Advisory Board for peer review the Truck Rule and the separate Car Rule limiting greenhouse gas emissions.  We argued that submittal to the Board is a nondiscretionary statutory mandate applicable to all EPA rules, and that EPA’s failure to comply with the mandate requires the Truck Rule and Car Rule to be remanded and vacated, so that the Agency can reopen the administrative record to seek review from the Board.

The three-judge panel of Tatel, Ginsburg, and Edwards did not concentrate on the substantive issue of whether EPA failed to comply with the statutory requirement.  Rather, they spent the bulk of the hearing asking questions regarding whether the Petitioners had standing to bring the actions.  Standing is a Constitutional requirement, which forbids federal courts from hearing cases unless there is a bona fide controversy between parties to a lawsuit.  The purpose of the standing requirement is to ensure that the courts do not engage in resolving philosophical or abstract questions.

For the purposes of our cases, the standing requirement has three components: (1) the petitioners must be injured-in-fact by the Truck Rule or Car Rule, as the case may be; (2) the injuries must be caused by the rules; and (3) the Court is able to grant relief that will remove or reduce the injuries.  It is difficult to predict how any particular court will decide any pending issue, but the D.C. Circuit panel seemed to side with us on the injury-in-fact and causation issues, concentrating most of their questions on the redressability issue.  It comes down to this: whether vacating and remanding the EPA Truck Rule and Car Rule will help to ameliorate the injuries in light of similar California rules and the federal fuel economy standards promulgated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  Citing Supreme Court precedent, we argued that the Petitioners’ injuries are redressable because a favorable decision would remove at least one regulatory cause of the injuries.  There is no requirement that all causes of the injury be removed.

If the panel rules in our favor on the standing question, it will be required to address the substantive issue of whether EPA’s violation of the submittal requirement merits remand and vacatur of the two rules.  We expect a decision before the end of the year.


Arizona Supreme Court rules that legislators can challenge Gov. Brewer’s illegal Medicaid tax

The Arizona Supreme Court said goodbye to outgoing governor Jan Brewer by upholding the right of legislators to challenge her illegal Medicaid expansion efforts. Last year, Brewer and her supporters engineered an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program pursuant to Obamacare—bizarrely, … Continue reading

When Obamacare fails, the Executive can’t blame states

As readers well know, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposes all sorts of new restrictions on the types of health insurance policies that can be bought and sold.  Naturally, this means that a lot of people who liked their health … Continue reading