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Month: July 2014

July 31, 2014

Does advertising a home “For Sale By Owner” make you a real estate agent?

That's what Nebraska bureaucrats think. Meet California entrepreneur Leslie Young. From her home in Northern California, Leslie runs a business called, which helps people to advertise their homes for sale on a For Sale By Owner basis. If you want to sell your home, you pay a fee and provide her with information about ...

July 31, 2014

Stale thinking, bad decision

For years, the Corps of Engineers has conducted Jurisdictional Determinations on private land.  These JD's constitute an adjudicative determination as to whether an area has wetlands or other jurisdictional waters subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act.  Projects that result in a discharge of dirt (or other materials) to jurisdictional w ...

July 31, 2014

Lawmakers kickoff summer recess with a lawsuit bang

Right before its summer recess, the House voted (225 to 201) to authorize the chamber to sue the President for his failure to faithfully execute the laws, specifically his many suspensions and unilateral re-writes of the Obamacare law. While there are many serious legal issues raised by the proposed House lawsuit, PLF's Todd Gaziano makes the ...

July 31, 2014

Delta smelt developments

As we reported last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the petitions for rehearing en banc filed by several groups of water-user parties.  Some of those groups this week moved to stay the Ninth Circuit’s mandate, alerting the court to their intention to file a petition for certiorari with the United States Supreme ...

July 30, 2014

Yes, Obamacare is a “bill for raising revenue.” (Lots and lots of revenue.)

The D.C. Circuit ruled yesterday that the ACA is a tax, but not a "bill for raising revenue," and therefore is exempt from the Origination Clause, which says all "bills for raising revenue" must begin in the House of Representatives instead of the Senate. The court said that the "main object or aim" of the ...

July 29, 2014

D.C. Circuit rules that Obamacare tax isn’t a “bill for raising revenue”

This morning, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against our challenge to Obamacare, holding that the individual mandate tax need not have originated in the House of Representatives because it does not qualify as a "bill for raising revenue" under the Constitution. In a relatively short opinion by Judge Judith Rogers, the court holds ...

July 28, 2014

Refusing to regulate water use through the endangered species act does not mean water use is unregulated

Last week I commented on the Fifth Circuit’s favorable decision in The Aransas Project v. Shaw.  An interested reader (who also appears to be a member of the plaintiff organization in the Aransas case) posted a reply of sorts, asserting that I “seem to believe there should be no regulation of water from lakes in ...

July 28, 2014

PLF defends school choice in Alabama

PLF has filed an amicus brief in the Alabama Supreme Court defending the constitutionality of school choice in the Heart of Dixie. The Alabama Accountability Act creates a system of tax credits to help parents transfer their kids from failing public schools to better public or private schools. Should be uncontroversial, right? Wrong. The statute w ...

July 28, 2014

Join PLF's Timothy Sandefur & the Rio Grande Foundation to celebrate Milton Friedman's legacy

I’ll be speaking at the Rio Grande Foundation’s annual Milton Friedman Day celebration, at the University of New Mexico Law School in Albuquerque on Thursday. More information here. ...

July 25, 2014

California appellate court vindicates Proposition 13’s eminent domain protection

Enacted by voters as a ballot initiative in 1978, California's Proposition 13 gives property owners relief on their tax bills by limiting property taxes to one percent of a property's value, with a maximum two percent increase for inflation per year. The property's "base value"—used to calculate the one percent bill—may be reassessed when the ...