Article: are critical area buffers unconstitutional?

Today, the Seattle Journal of Environmental Law published my article, Are Critical Area Buffers Unconstitutional? Demystifying The Doctrine of Unconstitutional Conditions. Although the article focuses on developments in Washington state law, it contains arguments relevant to property rights practitioners elsewhere. For example, the article explains why a demand that a landowner dedicate a “buffer area” takes valuable property rights. It also dispels the mistaken belief that conditions imposed pursuant to generally applicable legislation should be subject less rigorous scrutiny than all other conditions.

Does President Trump know that his Administration is blocking an important Michigan road project?

On behalf of its client the Marquette County Road Commission, PLF filed its Reply Brief in Marquette County Road Commission v. EPA.

Seattle’s tax on achievement is a Trojan Horse that threatens the poor and middle class

One of the things that makes Washington’s legal landscape so unique is that the state constitution was drafted by people who, having just witnessed the Civil War, were wary of state and federal government. As a result, our constitution provides many protections rarely found elsewhere in the country, such as a provision prohibiting the government from targeting political minorities to bear uneven tax burdens. Specifically, Article VII, Section I of the Washington State Constitution states that “all taxes shall be uniform upon the same class of property … The word ‘property’ as used herein shall mean and include everything, whether tangible or intangible, subject to ownership.”

For nearly a century, the Washington’s Supreme Court has repeatedly held that income is property and, therefore, the constitution prohibits targeted income taxes. And all attempts to change this constitutional provision through the courts, legislature, and via popular initiative have failed. Indeed, our state’s top-to-bottom economy has benefitted from this constitutional barrier to targeted income taxes, attracting large and high-paying employers.

New Jersey goes all in on the Constitution in sports betting case

Can Congress dictate to states what their own laws must be? Anyone familiar with federalism will likely immediately say “no.” Our Founders drafted a Constitution that preserved the independence of the the states, believing that dividing power between the federal government and the states would be a bulwark to protect our liberty. To preserve the Founders’ design, the Supreme Court has said that the federal government cannot “commandeer” the states by requiring them to adopt or enforce federal policy.

Yet the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, passed by Congress in 1992, purports to tell most states—but not others—that they must forbid sports gambling. In particular, it forbids states from “authorizing” sports betting “by law,” which means that those states that forbade sports betting in 1992 must continue doing so forever. That’s unconstitutional.

Adverse decision in Alaska wetlands case

This morning, the Ninth Circuit upheld the Army Corps of Engineers’ Clean Water Act jurisdiction over the Fairbanks, Alaska, property of our client, Universal Welding. The case, Universal Welding & Fabrication Co. v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, addressed a rarely invoked exception to the agency’s Clean Water Act jurisdiction over wetlands. The Corps’ regulations provide that the agency can regulate all wetlands adjacent to other jurisdictional waters, except wetlands that are adjacent to other jurisdictional wetlands. In our case, Universal Welding’s property is bordered by a county road, on the other side of which is a large wetland that extends for about a mile-and-a-half to Drainage Channel C, a tributary of the Chena Slough and Chena River.

Four-year-old boy banned from school for having long hair

Jessica Oates is the single mother of Jabez, a four-year-old boy who was excited to start his first day of school. Unfortunately, administrators at Barbers Hill ISD in Texas told the … ›

Should a business owner recover economic damages when the government condemns his property?

In a brief filed earlier today, PLF attorneys urge the U.S. Supreme Court to answer this important question concerning the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee that property shall not be taken without … ›

Ninth Circuit poses tough questions to government in Robertson argument

Today’s Ninth Circuit oral argument in U.S. v. Robertson produced an interesting series of exchanges between the Justice Department appellate attorney and Ninth Circuit Judges Gould and McKeown. A key … ›

Ninth Circuit hears appeal from elderly man jailed for building ponds

Today the Ninth Circuit is hearing oral argument in U.S. v. Robertson. Joseph Robertson is presently incarcerated in federal prison in Colorado, serving an 18 month sentence for building two … ›

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Article: are critical area buffers unconstitutional?

Today, the Seattle Journal of Environmental Law published my article, Are Critical Area Buffers Unconstitutional? Demystifying The Doctrine of Unconstitutional Conditions. Although the article focuses on developments in Washington state law, it contains arguments relevant to property rights practitioners elsewhere. For example, the article explains why a demand that a landowner dedicate a “buffer area” takes valuable property rights. It also dispels the mistaken belief that conditions imposed pursuant to generally applicable legislation should be subject less rigorous scrutiny than all other conditions.

Does President Trump know that his Administration is blocking an important Michigan road project?

On behalf of its client the Marquette County Road Commission, PLF filed its Reply Brief in Marquette County Road Commission v. EPA.

Seattle’s tax on achievement is a Trojan Horse that threatens the poor and middle class

One of the things that makes Washington’s legal landscape so unique is that the state constitution was drafted by people who, having just witnessed the Civil War, were wary of state and federal government. As a result, our constitution provides many protections rarely found elsewhere in the country, such as a provision prohibiting the government from targeting political minorities to bear uneven tax burdens. Specifically, Article VII, Section I of the Washington State Constitution states that “all taxes shall be uniform upon the same class of property … The word ‘property’ as used herein shall mean and include everything, whether tangible or intangible, subject to ownership.”

For nearly a century, the Washington’s Supreme Court has repeatedly held that income is property and, therefore, the constitution prohibits targeted income taxes. And all attempts to change this constitutional provision through the courts, legislature, and via popular initiative have failed. Indeed, our state’s top-to-bottom economy has benefitted from this constitutional barrier to targeted income taxes, attracting large and high-paying employers.

New Jersey goes all in on the Constitution in sports betting case

Can Congress dictate to states what their own laws must be? Anyone familiar with federalism will likely immediately say “no.” Our Founders drafted a Constitution that preserved the independence of the the states, believing that dividing power between the federal government and the states would be a bulwark to protect our liberty. To preserve the Founders’ design, the Supreme Court has said that the federal government cannot “commandeer” the states by requiring them to adopt or enforce federal policy.

Yet the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, passed by Congress in 1992, purports to tell most states—but not others—that they must forbid sports gambling. In particular, it forbids states from “authorizing” sports betting “by law,” which means that those states that forbade sports betting in 1992 must continue doing so forever. That’s unconstitutional.

Adverse decision in Alaska wetlands case

This morning, the Ninth Circuit upheld the Army Corps of Engineers’ Clean Water Act jurisdiction over the Fairbanks, Alaska, property of our client, Universal Welding. The case, Universal Welding & Fabrication Co. v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, addressed a rarely invoked exception to the agency’s Clean Water Act jurisdiction over wetlands. The Corps’ regulations provide that the agency can regulate all wetlands adjacent to other jurisdictional waters, except wetlands that are adjacent to other jurisdictional wetlands. In our case, Universal Welding’s property is bordered by a county road, on the other side of which is a large wetland that extends for about a mile-and-a-half to Drainage Channel C, a tributary of the Chena Slough and Chena River.

Four-year-old boy banned from school for having long hair

Jessica Oates is the single mother of Jabez, a four-year-old boy who was excited to start his first day of school. Unfortunately, administrators at Barbers Hill ISD in Texas told the … ›

Should a business owner recover economic damages when the government condemns his property?

In a brief filed earlier today, PLF attorneys urge the U.S. Supreme Court to answer this important question concerning the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee that property shall not be taken without … ›

Ninth Circuit poses tough questions to government in Robertson argument

Today’s Ninth Circuit oral argument in U.S. v. Robertson produced an interesting series of exchanges between the Justice Department appellate attorney and Ninth Circuit Judges Gould and McKeown. A key … ›

Ninth Circuit hears appeal from elderly man jailed for building ponds

Today the Ninth Circuit is hearing oral argument in U.S. v. Robertson. Joseph Robertson is presently incarcerated in federal prison in Colorado, serving an 18 month sentence for building two … ›

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Article: are critical area buffers unconstitutional?

Today, the Seattle Journal of Environmental Law published my article, Are Critical Area Buffers Unconstitutional? Demystifying The Doctrine of Unconstitutional Conditions. Although the article focuses on developments in Washington state law, it contains arguments relevant to property rights practitioners elsewhere. For example, the article explains why a demand that a landowner dedicate a “buffer area” takes valuable property rights. It also dispels the mistaken belief that conditions imposed pursuant to generally applicable legislation should be subject less rigorous scrutiny than all other conditions.

Does President Trump know that his Administration is blocking an important Michigan road project?

On behalf of its client the Marquette County Road Commission, PLF filed its Reply Brief in Marquette County Road Commission v. EPA.

Seattle’s tax on achievement is a Trojan Horse that threatens the poor and middle class

One of the things that makes Washington’s legal landscape so unique is that the state constitution was drafted by people who, having just witnessed the Civil War, were wary of state and federal government. As a result, our constitution provides many protections rarely found elsewhere in the country, such as a provision prohibiting the government from targeting political minorities to bear uneven tax burdens. Specifically, Article VII, Section I of the Washington State Constitution states that “all taxes shall be uniform upon the same class of property … The word ‘property’ as used herein shall mean and include everything, whether tangible or intangible, subject to ownership.”

For nearly a century, the Washington’s Supreme Court has repeatedly held that income is property and, therefore, the constitution prohibits targeted income taxes. And all attempts to change this constitutional provision through the courts, legislature, and via popular initiative have failed. Indeed, our state’s top-to-bottom economy has benefitted from this constitutional barrier to targeted income taxes, attracting large and high-paying employers.

New Jersey goes all in on the Constitution in sports betting case

Can Congress dictate to states what their own laws must be? Anyone familiar with federalism will likely immediately say “no.” Our Founders drafted a Constitution that preserved the independence of the the states, believing that dividing power between the federal government and the states would be a bulwark to protect our liberty. To preserve the Founders’ design, the Supreme Court has said that the federal government cannot “commandeer” the states by requiring them to adopt or enforce federal policy.

Yet the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, passed by Congress in 1992, purports to tell most states—but not others—that they must forbid sports gambling. In particular, it forbids states from “authorizing” sports betting “by law,” which means that those states that forbade sports betting in 1992 must continue doing so forever. That’s unconstitutional.

Adverse decision in Alaska wetlands case

This morning, the Ninth Circuit upheld the Army Corps of Engineers’ Clean Water Act jurisdiction over the Fairbanks, Alaska, property of our client, Universal Welding. The case, Universal Welding & Fabrication Co. v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, addressed a rarely invoked exception to the agency’s Clean Water Act jurisdiction over wetlands. The Corps’ regulations provide that the agency can regulate all wetlands adjacent to other jurisdictional waters, except wetlands that are adjacent to other jurisdictional wetlands. In our case, Universal Welding’s property is bordered by a county road, on the other side of which is a large wetland that extends for about a mile-and-a-half to Drainage Channel C, a tributary of the Chena Slough and Chena River.

Four-year-old boy banned from school for having long hair

Jessica Oates is the single mother of Jabez, a four-year-old boy who was excited to start his first day of school. Unfortunately, administrators at Barbers Hill ISD in Texas told the … ›

Should a business owner recover economic damages when the government condemns his property?

In a brief filed earlier today, PLF attorneys urge the U.S. Supreme Court to answer this important question concerning the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee that property shall not be taken without … ›

Ninth Circuit poses tough questions to government in Robertson argument

Today’s Ninth Circuit oral argument in U.S. v. Robertson produced an interesting series of exchanges between the Justice Department appellate attorney and Ninth Circuit Judges Gould and McKeown. A key … ›

Ninth Circuit hears appeal from elderly man jailed for building ponds

Today the Ninth Circuit is hearing oral argument in U.S. v. Robertson. Joseph Robertson is presently incarcerated in federal prison in Colorado, serving an 18 month sentence for building two … ›

Article: are critical area buffers unconstitutional?

Today, the Seattle Journal of Environmental Law published my article, Are Critical Area Buffers Unconstitutional? Demystifying The Doctrine of Unconstitutional Conditions. Although the article focuses on developments in Washington state law, it contains arguments relevant to property rights practitioners elsewhere. For example, the article explains why a demand that a landowner dedicate a “buffer area” takes valuable property rights. It also dispels the mistaken belief that conditions imposed pursuant to generally applicable legislation should be subject less rigorous scrutiny than all other conditions.

Does President Trump know that his Administration is blocking an important Michigan road project?

On behalf of its client the Marquette County Road Commission, PLF filed its Reply Brief in Marquette County Road Commission v. EPA.

Seattle’s tax on achievement is a Trojan Horse that threatens the poor and middle class

One of the things that makes Washington’s legal landscape so unique is that the state constitution was drafted by people who, having just witnessed the Civil War, were wary of state and federal government. As a result, our constitution provides many protections rarely found elsewhere in the country, such as a provision prohibiting the government from targeting political minorities to bear uneven tax burdens. Specifically, Article VII, Section I of the Washington State Constitution states that “all taxes shall be uniform upon the same class of property … The word ‘property’ as used herein shall mean and include everything, whether tangible or intangible, subject to ownership.”

For nearly a century, the Washington’s Supreme Court has repeatedly held that income is property and, therefore, the constitution prohibits targeted income taxes. And all attempts to change this constitutional provision through the courts, legislature, and via popular initiative have failed. Indeed, our state’s top-to-bottom economy has benefitted from this constitutional barrier to targeted income taxes, attracting large and high-paying employers.

New Jersey goes all in on the Constitution in sports betting case

Can Congress dictate to states what their own laws must be? Anyone familiar with federalism will likely immediately say “no.” Our Founders drafted a Constitution that preserved the independence of the the states, believing that dividing power between the federal government and the states would be a bulwark to protect our liberty. To preserve the Founders’ design, the Supreme Court has said that the federal government cannot “commandeer” the states by requiring them to adopt or enforce federal policy.

Yet the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, passed by Congress in 1992, purports to tell most states—but not others—that they must forbid sports gambling. In particular, it forbids states from “authorizing” sports betting “by law,” which means that those states that forbade sports betting in 1992 must continue doing so forever. That’s unconstitutional.

Adverse decision in Alaska wetlands case

This morning, the Ninth Circuit upheld the Army Corps of Engineers’ Clean Water Act jurisdiction over the Fairbanks, Alaska, property of our client, Universal Welding. The case, Universal Welding & Fabrication Co. v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, addressed a rarely invoked exception to the agency’s Clean Water Act jurisdiction over wetlands. The Corps’ regulations provide that the agency can regulate all wetlands adjacent to other jurisdictional waters, except wetlands that are adjacent to other jurisdictional wetlands. In our case, Universal Welding’s property is bordered by a county road, on the other side of which is a large wetland that extends for about a mile-and-a-half to Drainage Channel C, a tributary of the Chena Slough and Chena River.

Four-year-old boy banned from school for having long hair

Jessica Oates is the single mother of Jabez, a four-year-old boy who was excited to start his first day of school. Unfortunately, administrators at Barbers Hill ISD in Texas told the … ›

Should a business owner recover economic damages when the government condemns his property?

In a brief filed earlier today, PLF attorneys urge the U.S. Supreme Court to answer this important question concerning the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee that property shall not be taken without … ›

Ninth Circuit poses tough questions to government in Robertson argument

Today’s Ninth Circuit oral argument in U.S. v. Robertson produced an interesting series of exchanges between the Justice Department appellate attorney and Ninth Circuit Judges Gould and McKeown. A key … ›

Ninth Circuit hears appeal from elderly man jailed for building ponds

Today the Ninth Circuit is hearing oral argument in U.S. v. Robertson. Joseph Robertson is presently incarcerated in federal prison in Colorado, serving an 18 month sentence for building two … ›