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Property Rights

Ballinger v. City of Oakland

Unconstitutional tenant relocation scheme hurts families, housing

When the Air Force reassigned Lyndsey and Sharon Ballinger to Washington DC, in 2015, they kept their house in Oakland, California, renting it on a month-to-month lease so they could return to it. When the couple and their two small children came home this spring, a new city law forced them to pay their tech-sector tenants $6,500—for the right to move back into their own home. The law aims to help residents affected by soaring housing costs. But because the law’s good intent comes at the expense of their constitutional protections, the Ballingers filed a federal lawsuit.

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Property Rights

Knick v. Scott Township Pennsylvania

Supreme Court considers second-class treatment of property rights

In 2013, government agents forced Rose Knick to allow public access to a suspected gravesite on her farmland. Rose sued over the unconstitutional property taking. But a federal court refused to hear her federal claim citing the 1985 Supreme Court decision Williamson County. Rose has asked the Court to overturn this precedent so property rights are on equal footing with other rights such as due process and free speech. On behalf of Rose and all property owners, PLF argued Knick before the Supreme Court on October 3, 2018.

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Property Rights

Weyerhaeuser/Markle v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Victory: U.S. Supreme Court protects property rights from illegal stretches of existing law

As a child, Edward Poitevent’s family cut down Christmas trees on their lumber-rich land in Louisiana, and one day he’d like to leave the property to his own children. But federal bureaucrats jeopardized his legacy when they declared nearly 1,500 acres of his family’s private land as a critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog—a species not seen in the state for more than 50 years. Neither the Endangered Species Act nor congressional intent justifies such government-sanctioned property theft. Represented by PLF, Edward sued to defend his constitutionally protected property rights. In a unanimous decision announced November 27, 2018, the High Court agreed with Edward that the Fish and Wildlife Service overstepped its authority with the critical habitat designation and the Court remanded the case so that the lower court could consider Edward’s arguments anew.

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Latest Blog Posts

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By James S. Burling

Weekly litigation report — January 19, 2019

Oral argument held again in Knick at the Supreme Courf

On January 16, the Supreme Court heard reargument in Knick v Scott Township, the case where Ms Knick sued the town after the town declared that the public could trespass on her property in order to search for some old stones, claimed to be colonial-era graves Ms Knick is seeking the right to sue in federal court The argument went well and the Justices understand our arguments We are cautiously optimistic that at least five justices will agree that landowners should be able to sue local government in federal court when the government takes private property For more, see

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By David J. Deerson

PLF files Answering Brief in Center for Biological Diversity v. Zinke

Today, PLF filed our Answering Brief in the Ninth Circuit in the case of Center for Biological Diversity v. Zinke urging the court to affirm the District of Alaska’s dismissal. During the … ›

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By Kathy Hoekstra

Ms. Knick goes to Washington. Again.

When you first meet Rose Knick, you’re hard-pressed to find evidence that she could trigger a true property rights renaissance across the country. That was certainly the case for the … ›

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By Erin Wilcox

Time’s up for exclusive representation

Exclusive representation is the rule that gives unions a monopoly on talking to employers on behalf of all employees in a workplace. It’s also a rule whose time has come. … ›

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Op-Ed

End discrimination against corporate speech

Originally published in The Hill, January 15, 2019. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” George Orwell’s pithy lesson from “Animal Farm” describes the hypocrisy … ›

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By James S. Burling

Weekly litigation update — January 12, 2019

Washington Supreme Court spurns Seattle’s tax gamble Washington State is one of a handful of states that characterizes individual income as private property, subject to the same protections as all … ›

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By Christina M. Martin

Southwest ranchers are fighting back against federal bureaucrats’ abusive word games

Making a living ranching or farming in the harsh desert lands of American southwest is demanding enough. But federal bureaucrats have managed to make it even harder by playing word … ›

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By Caleb R. Trotter

Home-sharing is an economic boon. So why are cities trying to stamp it out?

Last year, Iowa property owners earned a cool $9.3 million renting out their properties through the popular home-sharing service Airbnb. That’s $9.3 million that helps the owners to pay mortgages … ›

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Op-Ed

Grassroots political participation is under attack in Utah and GOP is fighting back

Originally published by The Hill, January 8, 2019. If you want to understand the importance of grassroots volunteers in a democracy, spend some time working political campaigns and party activities … ›

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Case Updates

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