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Month: March 2010

March 31, 2010

Is there a de minimis exception to the Equal Protection Clause?

Author: Ralph W. Kasarda Would the government be correct in arguing that a public contracting scheme that discriminates and grants preferences on the basis of race is not subject to strict scrutiny, if the program discriminates only a little bit? I recently participated in oral argument before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in PLF& ...

March 30, 2010

Is it illegal? You’ll find out after you’re arrested

Author: Timothy Sandefur has published my editorial on the case of Skilling v. United States, currently being considered by the Supreme Court. That's the case against former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling, who was convicted of several charges arising from that firm's collapse years ago. One of the laws under which Skilling is charged is ...

March 30, 2010

Another sage grouse lawsuit in the offing

Author:  Damien M. Schiff Yesterday, Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and two other environmental groups announced their intention to sue the United States Fish & Wildlife Service's decision that listing the sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is "warranted but precluded" by higher-priority actions.  ...

March 29, 2010

Featherbedding in L.A.—a reimagined classic

Author: Timothy Sandefur "Featherbedding" is an old union trick, whereby the union forces the employer to hire people who just sit around and do nothing. If the employer has a job that requires two workers, the union requires the employer to hire five. In one famous case in the 1980s, railroad unions forced railroads to ...

March 29, 2010

Reasonableness from NRDC?

Author:  Damien M. Schiff Last Friday, Doug Obegi of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) had this post on NRDC's Switchboard blog giving the environmental group's take on the recently issued NAS-NRC report on the Delta pumps and their effects on the Delta smelt and other ESA-protected species in the Delta (I blogged about the ...

March 26, 2010

More Coastal Commission updates

Author:  Damien M. Schiff Yesterday my colleague Paul Beard reported on a disappointing decision in the First District.  Today's Santa Rosa Press Democrat has an article on the decision.  Also, a few days ago I reported on a Coastal Commission controversy in Dana Point.  Here's a piece discussing the City's decis ...

March 25, 2010

Court of Appeal endorses Coastal Commission's near-limitless power over human activities

Author:  Paul J. Beard II Today, the California Court of Appeal ruled that a 15-minute, Fourth-of-July fireworks display on private property in Gualala, California, is a "development" that may be regulated by the California Coastal Commission through its permitting process.  The reason?  A firewor ...

March 25, 2010

Water controversy in Santa Clara County

Author:  Damien M. Schiff Today's San Jose Mercury News has this excellent piece recapping an ongoing controversy concerning "groundwater recharge fees" imposed by the Santa Clara Valley Water District on well owners in the District.  The basic controversy is this.  The Water District contends that well owners, by ex ...

March 24, 2010

Takings victories made harder

Author: R. S. Radford Professor Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago is universally acclaimed as one of the nation's foremost champions of private property rights. This well-deserved reputation dates back to his classic 1985 text, Takings: Private Property and the Power of Eminent Domain. The Cato Institute, a Washington, DC think tank, is ...

March 24, 2010

Challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Author:  Damien M. Schiff This week, the attorneys general of fourteen states filed two lawsuits in federal district courts in Florida and Virginia, challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The Florida suit, brought by 13 attorneys general, raises a number of constitutional claims agai ...