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Property Rights

Benedetti v. County of Marin, California

Marin County adopts unconstitutional “forced farming” plan

Marin County’s new Land Use Plan requires landowners who currently use their land for agricultural purposes to remain “actively and directly engaged” in agriculture in perpetuity. This requirement is tied to building permits within the county’s agricultural zone. For PLF client Willie Benedetti, owner of Benedetti Farms and Willie Bird Turkeys, the mandate means he must choose between working forever or retiring and giving up his property. Benedetti is suing the county and the California Coastal Commission for this unconstitutional condition on his right to use his property.

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Personal Liberties

Elster v. City of Seattle, Washington

Seattle’s politician enrichment tax forces property owners to subsidize private political speech and violates the First Amendment

Representing Seattle residents and property owners, PLF sued to overturn Seattle’s ordinance mandating public campaign financing. Under the city’s “democracy voucher” program, each Seattle resident receives four $25 vouchers to support eligible candidates for local political office. The money to fund the voucher program is taken from the city’s property owners via a dedicated levy. The lawsuit argues that these compelled subsidies violate the First Amendment right to refrain from speaking – or funding the speech of another person.

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Procedural Guarantees

American Federation of Aviculture v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Thriving golden parakeets no longer need Endangered Species Act protection

Thanks to the efforts of private breeders, the golden parakeet is no longer threatened with extinction. Although the federal government acknowledges the bird’s tenfold increase in numbers, it has refused to comply with a law that requires it to make a final decision to delist or downlist the parakeet within 12 months of that finding. On behalf of a coalition of breeders and bird owners, the American Federation of Aviculture, PLF is suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to force it to comply with the law, reclassify the golden parakeet, and lift onerous restrictions that prevent breeders from selling to all other breeders.

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Latest Blog Posts

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By Wen Fa

Ninth Circuit sides with PLF in an important free speech decision

The First Amendment doesn’t just protect your right to speak, it also protects your right not to speak. So imagine if your municipal government required you to devote 20% of … ›

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By Joshua P. Thompson

Only the Supreme Court remains for disparate impact crusaders

A few months ago my colleague Wencong Fa blogged about the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Hardie v. NCAA. Hardie, a convicted felon, sought to have the NCAA’s ban on felon coaches … ›

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By Joshua P. Thompson

Autograph law repeal now on Governor Brown’s desk

Shed a (crocodile) tear for Luke Skywalker today, as Mark Hamill’s much ballyhooed Autograph Law is set to be undone and reformed by the same California officials who made the mistake to pass it in the first place. AB 228 has arrived at the Governor’s desk, and in all likelihood will be signed into law any day.

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By Robert L. Krauter

Spotlight on property rights

Our new flagship publication, Sword&Scales, offers 16 pages of news and information to bring you up close to the vital work of our legal team. Our ardent defense of the right to own and use private property takes center stage in the inaugural issue. It’s at the core of our mission in the nation’s courts.

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By Steven D. Anderson

A new PLF is born

One year ago we reported on PLF’s wholesale review of our operations as we prepare for our 50th anniversary and beyond, based on the realization that to vindicate fully the principles of individual liberty, we couldn’t simply rely on the ways of the past.

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By James S. Burling

Weekly litigation report — September 16, 2017

On Thursday, in Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, PLF filed this reply brief in support of its cert petition to the Supreme Court of the United States. In this case, we’re representing Minnesota voters in a First Amendment challenge to a ban on political apparel at polling places.

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By Meriem L. Hubbard

PLF in the Daily Journal: Ruling imperils taxpayers’ right to vote

The Daily Journal published my column on California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland, recently decided by the California Supreme Court.  As the op-ed points out, the ruling undermines Proposition 218’s requirements that all new taxes at the local level need voter approval. 

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Video

PLF files reply in challenge to Minnesota’s ban on political apparel

Minnesota bans political apparel at polling places across the State. The government interprets “political” broadly: the ban applies to shirts with classic American phrases such as “Liberty” or “Don’t tread on me,” as long as those phrases appear alongside a tea party logo — no matter how small.

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By Mark Miller

Hamilton, the separation of powers, and Constitution Day 2017

Sunday marks the 230th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States. Pacific Legal Foundation celebrates Constitution Day this year with a column about a Founding Father and signer of the Constitution who now stars in the Broadway hit musical, Hamilton. We also use the opportunity to remind our federal legislators about the importance of the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution. The opinion piece will run in newspapers from coast to coast this weekend.

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Case Updates

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Press Release

Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association v. Ross

PLF applauds administration’s monument review

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Press Release

Duarte Nursery v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Settlement reached in Duarte Nursery case

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