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Year: 2019

February 20, 2019

Supreme Court vindicates all Americans’ right to be free from excessive fines

Today the Supreme Court held that the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from being excessively fined by all levels of government in this country—not just the federal government. The decision in this case, Timbs v. Indiana, is a significant victory that limits the abusive use of fees and fines by state and local officials—abuse that frequen ...

February 20, 2019

Courts can’t look the other way when the government censors speech

When the government seeks to stifle a viewpoint it doesn't like, it's probably not going to be forthcoming about it.  Instead, it will concoct a pretextual reason for its action, or use a "neutral" proxy that, in practice, discriminates against viewpoints it doesn't like. For the First Amendment to have teeth, then, courts must be ...

February 19, 2019

Supreme Court to decide whether Clean Water Act regulates groundwater

Today, the Supreme Court agreed to hear County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, in which PLF filed a friend-of-the-court brief. This case is about whether the Clean Water Act regulates pollution that reaches surface water by means of groundwater. If it does, as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said, then every homeowner with ...

February 14, 2019

Uri Rafaeli takes a stand for traditional property rights

Can the government constitutionally take your house if you are tardy paying an $8 property tax debt? PLF client Uri Rafaeli is asking the Michigan Supreme Court that very question. In 2014, Rafaeli was shocked to learn that Oakland County in Michigan had taken title to his $60,000 rental house to collect an $8.41 debt. ...

February 13, 2019

California bureaucrats levied a $4+ million fine against these homeowners. Now they’re fighting for their rights.

When it comes to government bureaucrats abusing citizens' property rights and pushing the envelope on constitutional limits, the California Coastal Commission is in a class by itself. Our latest effort to defend a pair of Southern California homeowners against the commission's overly aggressive and heavy-handed tactics is a case study in government ...

February 13, 2019

Democracy depends on Free Speech

When Alexis de Tocqueville made his famous sojourn to America in the early days of our republic, he was struck by our commitment to democratic principles. In those days almost all government was local and conducted through various direct mechanisms like town meetings. Basically, elected officials, neighbors, and the curious would get together and d ...

February 12, 2019

Here’s why De Blasio’s wrongheaded tenant protection proposal is dead on arrival

This article was originally published by The Hill on February 12th, 2019. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has a new proposal that would threaten landlords he believes are pushing tenants out of their homes. In addition to fines and penalties, De Blasio recently announced that the city ultimately may "seize their buildings" and ...

February 11, 2019

Are Florida’s Hearing Aid Regulators Listening to the Call for Deregulation?

This article was originally published in Sunshine State News on February 8th, 2019. Last week in Orlando, Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis convened dozens of government officials who run Florida's 23 professional licensing boards for what he called a "Deregathon" event to advance an agenda of "aggressive and appropriate deregulation." The idea was fo ...

February 11, 2019

Welcome to California, land of 1,000 laws — and that’s just this year

This article was originally published in The Hill on February 6th, 2019. I've lived in California almost my entire life. And if there's one thing you can count on in this glorious state, it's the ability of the people to join together to overcome adversity in pursuit of the common good. But that healthy sense ...

February 08, 2019

Weekly litigation report — February 9, 2019

Should you need government permission to sell harmless, FDA-approved hearing aids? We filed this opening brief on appeal asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to reinstate PLF client Dan Taylor's constitutional challenge against Florida's outdated hearing aid sales regulations. The law prohibits anyone from selling a hearing aid ...