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Personal Liberties

Freedom Foundation v. Washington Dept. of Ecology

State agency Scrooge violates Santa’s First Amendment rights

Each year around the holidays, Washington-based Freedom Foundation sends staff members to the lobbies of state agency buildings. These staffers—dressed as Santa—hand out leaflets that explain state employees’ right to opt out of union dues. Allowed by most agencies, the Washington Department of Ecology in 2017 instead prohibited the leafletting. Even worse is that the agency kicked Santa out of its lobby while allowing other organizations to engage in political expression there—including the union itself. Represented by Pacific Legal Foundation, Freedom Foundation is suing the Department of Ecology in federal court for violating the First Amendment.

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Personal Liberties

Rentberry v. City of Seattle

Seattle’s unconstitutional rent-bidding law blocks innovation, free speech

Rentberry is a small San Francisco-based startup that connects landlords and renters through a rent-bidding website. The company hopes to expand its service to Seattle, however city council adopted a one-year moratorium on the service over concerns it might violate existing rental law and might inflate housing costs—despite no evidence that either is true. Pacific Legal Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Rentberry, arguing the moratorium prohibits free speech rights of Rentberry, as well as the landlords and renters who would like to use such sites to communicate.

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Property Rights

Yim v. City of Seattle

Seattle wages unconstitutional war on landlords

In a noble but misguided effort to combat racial discrimination, the City of Seattle passed a series of ordinances forbidding local landlords from choosing their own tenants. A “first in time” ordinance requires landlords to rent to the first financially-qualified tenant who applies. And the “Fair Chance Housing Ordinance” forbids landlords from considering applicants’ criminal histories. PLF represents several small-scale landlords who are denied their constitutionally-guaranteed choice to decide who to allow on their private property.

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Latest Blog Posts

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By James S. Burling

Weekly litigation report — July 21, 2018

Total victory in the Starry Night House mural case This week the City of Mount Dora settled with PLF plaintiffs Nancy Nemhauser and Lubomir Jastrzebski in a one-sided agreement that … ›

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By Jonathan Wood

Interior proposes ESA reforms recommended by PLF

This afternoon, the Department of Interior proposed several reforms to the way it implements the Endangered Species Act. Chief among them is to eliminate prospectively a regulation that imposes the … ›

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By Jeremy Talcott

Victory in the Starry Night mural case!

The Starry Night House saga has finally come to a close. Last night, the Mount Dora City Council voted unanimously to approve a settlement agreement that lets homeowners Nancy Nemhauser … ›

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By Jonathan Wood

Idaho joins PLF’s defense of the Congressional Review Act

The Congressional Review Act should be one of the nation’s least controversial laws. To restore some measure of democratic accountability to the administrative state, it requires federal agencies to submit … ›

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By James S. Burling

Weekly litigation report — July 14, 2018

PLF gets into a Santa suit to fight for free speech This week, PLF filed a lawsuit against the Washington Department of Ecology for kicking Santa out of their public … ›

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By Wen Fa

It’s time to give children in Hartford the education they deserve

World-class magnet schools in Hartford, Connecticut provide thousands of students with a quality education. The schools also provide hope for scores of minority students in Hartford, who currently attend failing … ›

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By Timothy R. Snowball

The Myth of “Progress”

On July 5, 1926, President Calvin Coolidge delivered a speech commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in which he stated that “It is often asserted that the … ›

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By Brian T. Hodges

Kelo revisited

The Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment promises that the government will not take private property unless it is for a valid public use and the owner is fully compensated. … ›

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By Deborah J. La Fetra

Public sector unions and gifts of public funds

On June 27, the Supreme Court held in Janus v. AFSCME that workers’ First Amendment rights prohibit states from authorizing public sector unions to take money from non-members without the … ›

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Case Updates

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