Why this Oakland military family is suing the city

August 21, 2019 | By MERIEM L. HUBBARD

For years, Sharon Ballinger, an Air Force nurse, and Lyndsey Ballinger, a Squadron Commander in the California Air National Guard, have lived in Oakland with their two small children. And when they were temporarily transferred to Washington, D.C., they rented their house out on a month-to-month basis, always intending to return home. But they never ...


Taking back takings lawsuits

October 08, 2018 | By MERIEM L. HUBBARD

Originally published in the Daily Journal, October 8, 2018.  This term the Supreme Court has a chance to overturn a decades-old decision that kept many property owners out of federal courts. Thirty-three years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck a serious blow to the constitutional rights of private property owners nationwide. A court decision to ...


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

September 15, 2017 | By MERIEM L. HUBBARD

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.  … ...


U.S. Supreme Court rules that some taxpayer funded benefits are available to religious institutions

June 27, 2017 | By MERIEM L. HUBBARD

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a win for the Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia.  The question in the case against the State of Missouri, was whether the State violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment by refusing to allow the Church to participate in a program offering rubber surfacing material to nonprofit organization ...


Victory in residential rental inspection case

May 30, 2017 | By MERIEM L. HUBBARD

Warrantless inspections of residential rental properties are a source of controversy in many California cities. Take, for example, the City of Highland located in San Bernardino County. The City adopted a Residential Rental Enhancement Program requiring an inspection of all residential rental properties. Pursuant to the Program, city inspectors cou ...


The Supreme Court will decide whether states can provide financial aid to religious institutions

April 16, 2017 | By MERIEM L. HUBBARD

In 1875, Congressman James G. Blaine proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would have prohibited state governments from funding religious institutions, including religious schools.  Although the proposal failed to gather enough votes in Congress, a majority of states added Blaine Amendments to their constitutions, most of which were ...


California’s high court will review pension "spiking" case

November 30, 2016 | By MERIEM L. HUBBARD

Californians are accustomed to controversy when it comes to public employee pensions.  Although state and local governments across the country were left without adequate funding of pension obligations following the Great Recession of 2008-2009, California’s shortfall–estimated to be around $475 billion–was the biggest. The Cali ...


The right to vote on taxes : California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland

October 31, 2016 | By MERIEM L. HUBBARD

Today PLF filed an amicus brief in California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland.  The case was accepted for review in the California Supreme Court in late June.  Despite its name, the case is not about marijuana.  It is about Californians’ right to vote on taxes.  That right was established through a string of voter-approved referenda ...


When is a statutory reference to race a racial classification?

October 01, 2016 | By MERIEM L. HUBBARD

Rothe Development, a small contracting business located in Texas, submitted the lowest bid on a Defense Department contract.   But because the Small Business Act creates a preference for firms owned by socially or economically disadvantaged individuals, Rothe was not awarded the contract.  Rothe sued the Defense Department and the Small Business ...