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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 Ethan W. Blevins

Seattle “democracy vouchers” may head to state supreme court

Thomas Jefferson said, “to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical”

People use money to express themselves Resistance T-shirts, MAGA hats, donations to moveonorg, promoted tweets–whatever your views may be, shouting louder than the other guy will cost you So, what if government takes money from one person to pay for another person’s expression? Is that really any different from forcing a Democrat to don a MAGA hat, or a Tar Heels fan to wear a Blue Devils jersey? (Full disclosure: I’m a Duke

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By James S. Burling

Weekly litigation report — December 15, 2018

Public land stewards reiterate that the President can reduce the size of national monuments

Briefing is now complete on the motion to dismiss Utah Diné Bikéyah v Trump, a case that challenges the President’s ability to reduce the size of national monuments PLF represents individuals and non-profit organizations that recreate, work, and volunteer on the public lands in Utah who were harmed when the Bears Ears National Monument was established This week, PLF filed another brief explaining the one president cannot bind future presidents when he establishes a national monument We are asking the court to dismiss the case A decision on the motion to dismiss is expected in

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By Anthony L. Francois

Joe Robertson’s case draws friends at Supreme Court

This week six friend of the court briefs were filed asking the Supreme Court to hear Joe Robertson‘s Clean Water Act case. This is a very good showing for Joe’s … ›

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By Timothy R. Snowball

OMG…California moves to tax text messages!

Just when we thought California’s government could not get any more dumb. In addition to being known for some of America’s finest cities (I see you San Diego!), incredible beaches … ›

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By Anthony L. Francois

President Trump tells EPA to drain the swamp; EPA says “not so much”

PLF client John Duarte joined the crew on Fox and Friends this morning to talk about being prosecuted by the Justice Department and the Army under the Clean Water Act, … ›

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By Chris Kieser

PLF sues to stop racial discrimination in New York City magnet school admissions

New York’s specialized high schools are the crown jewel of the City’s public education system. Including nationally-recognized schools like Stuyvesant High School, the Bronx High School of Science, and Brooklyn … ›

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By David J. Deerson

Property is property. End of story.

Today we filed an amicus brief in the Minnesota Supreme Court to make sure they apply the correct analysis when considering a Takings Clause challenge. Winona County, Minnesota recently banned … ›

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By Timothy R. Snowball

10th Amendment: Saving the best for last

If you visit any high school or college class and ask the students what makes the United States great, the answers will probably be pretty typical: “In America we have … ›

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By Deborah J. La Fetra

The constitutional right to speak for yourself

Public employees are a diverse group. Just as they don’t all look alike, neither do they think alike. Under union-backed “exclusive representation” laws, however, they must speak with a single … ›

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