It’s a limited government, after all

March 14, 2023 | By JAMES BURLING

Not every problem has a solution, but that doesn’t seem to stop the government from attempting to supply one—even if the solution will make things worse. And even if the government doesn’t have the authority to solve a particular problem. Recognizing the history of governments around the world to solve problems by controlling people&# ...


The Hill : Expect fireworks from the Supreme Court’s 2022-2023 term

September 26, 2022 | By JAMES BURLING

Although the Supreme Court likely won’t be talking much about guns and abortions this term, there will be fireworks on issues ranging from race preferences at colleges, to California’s politically correct bacon regulations, to the perennial question of what the heck is a wetland subject to federal control? Wrapped up in the court’ ...


What is a writ of certiorari?

August 09, 2022 | By JAMES BURLING

Every year, Americans read about cases going to the Supreme Court and the potential legal and constitutional implications of those cases. The Supreme Court is unique because the Supreme Court Justices choose which cases the Court hears. But unless you’re a lawyer or a Supreme Court junkie, the process for how they choose those cases … ...


A man who grew the PLF community : Dick Bradley, 1929–2022

July 19, 2022 | By JAMES BURLING

Next year Pacific Legal Foundation will be celebrating our 50th anniversary. It’s a milestone we would not have reached without the tireless work and indefatigable enthusiasm of people like Dick Bradley, who just passed away at the age of 93.   Since Dick won’t be here for next year’s celebrations, I want to take a … ...


Apocalypse not : What West Virginia v. EPA really means

July 15, 2022 | By JAMES BURLING

On July 5, Axios not-so-subtly warned us that “the Supreme Court’s next target is the executive branch.” The Guardian’s headline was even more stark: “The U.S. Supreme Court has declared war on the Earth’s future.”   With headlines like these, you might think we’re experiencing the end times. Or, as ...


The federal government should get out of the way of homebuilding

July 13, 2022 | By JAMES BURLING

The federal government isn’t going to solve the housing crisis. With its multiple large, redundant, contradictory, unwieldy, and economically illiterate Washington-centric bureaucracies, we should neither expect nor want the government to be in the homebuilding business. Or to tell us how to do it.  In fact, the best thing the government can ...


What is the Clean Water Act?

June 14, 2022 | By JAMES BURLING

The Clean Water Act is one of the more commonly known pieces of federal legislation in America, but the history of the Act, why it was originally passed, and what it actually does is much less widely understood. What is the Clean Water Act, and what does it do?   How did the Clean Water … ...


What is the difference between originalism vs. textualism vs. living constitutionalism?

April 27, 2022 | By JAMES BURLING

While we hear legal debates around originalism vs. textualism during high profile Supreme Court cases, they can often feel like vague terms. What exactly is originalism vs. textualism?  The late Justice Antonin Scalia called himself both an originalist and a textualist. Justice Neil Gorsuch is considered “a proud textualist,” and yet h ...


Emergency orders and the Supreme Court’s ‘shadow docket’

April 21, 2022 | By JAMES BURLING

Schoolchildren are not known for their patience. But sometimes they have good reason to want something not next year, not next month, but now. Such as when their futures are on the line before the Supreme Court.   The slow Supreme Court process  In normal circumstances, it takes more than a year for the Supreme … ...