Overcriminalization and the rule of lenity

July 16, 2024 | By WILL FOSTER

In recent decades, the scope of federal law has grown massively. And with that growth has come the risk that Americans will be ensnared in criminal or civil proceedings for activities they had no idea were illegal.   It is often said that ignorance of the law is no excuse, and in general that is … ...


Big Supreme Court decisions on executive power, agency courts, and the Eighth Amendment

June 28, 2024 | By NICOLE W.C. YEATMAN

What a way to head into the July 4th holiday: The Supreme Court announced big decisions on the penultimate day of the term—including an end to the doctrine responsible for decades of executive overreach.   Supreme Court overturns Chevron in Loper/Relentless  In today’s decision in Loper Bright Enterprises/Relentless, the Supreme Court ov ...


Fishing on an ocean ‘antiquity’

June 27, 2024 | By NICOLE W.C. YEATMAN

“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.”   —Stubb, the second mate, in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick    In New Bedford, Massachusetts, sits an old chapel: the Seamen’s Bethel, built in 1832 for sailors to visit and pray before heading out to sea. … ...


What is the soft bigotry of low expectations?

May 23, 2024 | By NICOLE W.C. YEATMAN

In September 1999, then-Governor of Texas George W. Bush gave a speech to the Latin Business Association about education. America needed to adopt the mindset that every child can learn, he said. “It does not matter if they grow up in foster care or a two-parent family. These circumstances are challenges, but they are not … ...


R.J. Smith, champion of private conservation

April 26, 2024 | By NICOLE W.C. YEATMAN

In 1981, scholar R.J. Smith argued private property rights were key to preserving natural resources and wildlife.  “The problems of environmental degradation, overexploitation of natural resources, and depletion of wildlife all derive from their existence as common property resources,” he wrote in “Resolving the Tragedy of the Co ...


With Sheetz victory, PLF’s record at the Supreme Court is unmatched 

April 19, 2024 | By NICOLE W.C. YEATMAN

On April 12, 2024, the Supreme Court ruled for Pacific Legal Foundation client George Sheetz in a case challenging extortionate permit fees for homebuilders. PLF now has won 18 of 20 cases we’ve litigated at the Supreme Court. Ten of the 18, including Sheetz, were unanimous decisions. Seven were won in the past five years. … ...


The government had George Sheetz ‘over a barrel.’ He took his case to the Supreme Court—and won.

April 14, 2024 | By NICOLE W.C. YEATMAN

This post has been updated to reflect George Sheetz’s April 12 victory at the Supreme Court. Picture this: You’re a 65-year-old retiree who bought a small parcel of land in El Dorado County, California. In your career you worked your way up from $5-an-hour laborer to head of your own engineering contracting company. Your plans … ...


Stop hiring interns based on race, PLF tells Los Angeles Zoo

March 20, 2024 | By NICOLE W.C. YEATMAN

The Los Angeles Zoo—which is owned by the City of Los Angeles and receives 1.8 million visitors per year—selects its paid interns based on their race.   Pacific Legal Foundation sent a letter to the Zoo this week, pointing out that its discriminatory internship program likely violates the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause as well as ...


Who wins if Chevron is overturned?

March 01, 2024 | By NICOLE W.C. YEATMAN

Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo—the Supreme Court case that could overturn Chevron deference and remove judicial bias toward regulatory agencies—has been called “the plan to incapacitate the federal government.”   “Chevron shields the executive branch from overly intrusive court review,” law professor Nicholas Bag ...