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Featured Cases

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Procedural Guarantees

American Federation of Aviculture v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Thriving golden parakeets no longer need Endangered Species Act protection

Thanks to the efforts of private breeders, the golden parakeet is no longer threatened with extinction. Although the federal government acknowledges the bird’s tenfold increase in numbers, it has refused to comply with a law that requires it to make a final decision to delist or downlist the parakeet within 12 months of that finding. On behalf of a coalition of breeders and bird owners, the American Federation of Aviculture, PLF is suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to force it to comply with the law, reclassify the golden parakeet, and lift onerous restrictions that prevent breeders from selling to all other breeders.

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Personal Liberties

Elster v. City of Seattle, Washington

Seattle’s politician enrichment tax forces property owners to subsidize private political speech and violates the First Amendment

Representing Seattle residents and property owners, PLF sued to overturn Seattle’s ordinance mandating public campaign financing. Under the city’s “democracy voucher” program, each Seattle resident receives four $25 vouchers to support eligible candidates for local political office. The money to fund the voucher program is taken from the city’s property owners via a dedicated levy. The lawsuit argues that these compelled subsidies violate the First Amendment right to refrain from speaking – or funding the speech of another person.

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Property Rights

Benedetti v. County of Marin, California

Marin County adopts unconstitutional “forced farming” plan

Marin County’s new Land Use Plan requires landowners who currently use their land for agricultural purposes to remain “actively and directly engaged” in agriculture in perpetuity. This requirement is tied to building permits within the county’s agricultural zone. For PLF client Willie Benedetti, owner of Benedetti Farms and Willie Bird Turkeys, the mandate means he must choose between working forever or retiring and giving up his property. Benedetti is suing the county and the California Coastal Commission for this unconstitutional condition on his right to use his property.

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Latest Blog Posts

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By James S. Burling

Weekly litigation report — September 23, 2017

Ninth Circuit sides with PLF in compelled speech case

On Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit issued a favorable opinion in American Beverage Association v City and County of San Francisco, an important compelled speech case As we explain on our blog, the case involves a San Francisco ordinance that forces advertisers of sugar-sweetened beverages to devote 20% of each advertisement for the government’s message that the beverages uniquely contribute to a variety of health problems A group of producers and advertisers filed a constitutional challenge, arguing that the ordinance compels speech and thus violates the First Amendment The district court, applying minimal First Amendment scrutiny, sided with San Francisco

PLF

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By Christina M. Martin

PLF asks Supreme Court to secure property owners’ path to takings claim

This week, PLF filed this amicus brief in Beach Group Investments, Inc v Florida Department of Environmental Protection  This case raises yet another example of how the lower courts are struggling to interpret the Supreme Court’s “final decision ripeness” rule in takings claims The takings ripeness doctrine requires a final administrative decision to ensure that property owners come to court with a cleanly postured property rights claim Usually this means that property owners must actually apply for at least one permit to use their property before they can go to court and allege that the government unconstitutionally deprived them of the ability to make economic use of

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By Collin B. Callahan

Hearing: Oversight of Agency Compliance with the Congressional Review Act

Next week, the House Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust law will hold a hearing entitled “Rulemakers Must Follow the Rules, Too: Oversight of Agency Compliance with the Congressional Review Act.” PLF’s Todd Gaziano has been invited to testify at the hearing.

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Podcast

PLF is defending liberty and justice for all

PLF’s Vice President for Litigation Jim Burling hosts a discussion with PLF President and CEO Steven D. Anderson about the dawn of an exciting new time at Pacific Legal Foundation. … ›

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By Joshua P. Thompson

Roger Clegg on why racial preferences remain wrongheaded

PLF friend Roger Clegg has a very interesting article in Inside Higher Education where he explains why federal action to curb universities continued use of racial preferences is sorely needed  The article talks about this PLF Supreme Court brief he joined which documents how universities continue to flout the requirements of the Equal Protection Clause The entire article is worth the read  Perhaps most notably, he explains how whatever the speculative benefits of racial preferences are, the costs are real and undeniable

“But let’s suppose that you are not completely persuaded That is, let’s suppose that you think, while the justifications for the use of racial preferences are

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By Anastasia P. Boden

Speaking of the bane that is occupational licensing…

This week I sat down with FreedomWorks to talk about the egregious violation of economic liberty that is occupational licensing  Nowadays, you need a license to do just about everything under the sun, from dog-watching to helping a friend move  Such a scheme puts entrepreneurs at the mercy of bureaucrats, even though many of these laws bear no relationship to protecting the public and instead exist solely to stifle competition

I talk about the growth of occupational licensing and PLF’s efforts to fight abuses

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By Wen Fa

Ninth Circuit sides with PLF in an important free speech decision

The First Amendment doesn’t just protect your right to speak, it also protects your right not to speak. So imagine if your municipal government required you to devote 20% of … ›

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By Joshua P. Thompson

Only the Supreme Court remains for disparate impact crusaders

A few months ago my colleague Wencong Fa blogged about the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Hardie v NCAA Hardie, a convicted felon, sought to have the NCAA’s ban on felon coaches struck down as illegal under Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 That is the tenet of our civil rights laws that prohibits hotels and lunch counters from discriminating against patrons on the basis of race Hardie, and his team of disparate impact lawyers, sought to apply disparate impact theory to Title II They argued that prohibiting felons from coaching at NCAA events violates Title II, because the prohibition has a disparate

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By Joshua P. Thompson

Autograph law repeal now on Governor Brown’s desk

Shed a (crocodile) tear for Luke Skywalker today, as Mark Hamill’s much ballyhooed Autograph Law is set to be undone and reformed by the same California officials who made the mistake to pass it in the first place. AB 228 has arrived at the Governor’s desk, and in all likelihood will be signed into law any day.

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Case Updates

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Press Release

Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association v. Ross

PLF applauds administration’s monument review

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Press Release

Duarte Nursery v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Settlement reached in Duarte Nursery case

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