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Property Rights

Waters of the United States

PLF at the Supreme Court: Fighting EPA power grab of all U.S. waters

It’s now up to the U.S. Supreme Court to decide if the EPA can stretch federal control to nearly every pond, ditch, and puddle in the nation. On October 11, justices heard arguments in National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of Defense, a consolidated case which included an extensive array of our clients. We challenged the EPA’s 2015 proposed rule as being nothing more than an outrageous – and illegal – power grab under cover of the Clean Water Act.

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Personal Liberties

Book Passage v. Becerra

Saving free speech one book at a time

In the wake of a First Amendment challenge by Bay Area book seller Bill Petrocelli and his renowned store, Book Passage, California has rescinded the state’s onerous “certificate of authenticity” requirement for the sale of autographed books. The regulation would have made it extremely risky, if not impossible, for stores to sell signed books or host author events.

Under the former law, sellers of any autographed good worth over $5—including books—were required to provide a Certificate of Authenticity that included details about the transaction and the personal information about buyers and previous owners. Any omission, or failing to maintain the records for seven years, resulted in outrageous fines. Following PLF’s lawsuit, the legislature passed AB 228, which exempts books from the mandates.

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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 Damien M. Schiff

Is the emission of greenhouse gases tortious?

“Yes,” argue several complaints recently filed in California superior court by five cities and counties The plaintiffs (San Francisco, Oakland, Imperial Beach, Marin County, and San Mateo County) contend that the defendant energy companies—the ten or so largest in the world, who together are responsible for about one-fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions over the last fifty years—are liable under nuisance and other tort theories for having substantially contributed to global warming The local governments seek damages to pay for the adaptive measures (such as seawalls) that they as coastal communities will have to undertake as a result of climate change Similar private-party efforts

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By James S. Burling

Weekly litigation report — October 21, 2017

  • Squash the wrong bug, go to jail
  • The price of selling your home in Santa Barbara? An illegal warrantless search
  • Free speech wins one in California legislature!
  • Brief filed in Oklahoma First Amendment right to say who you are case
  • Oral argument in Florida takings case
  • Allies file amicus briefs in support of our bird island in the Keys takings case
  • Is going out of business a coastal development? 
  • Georgia Supreme Court Upholds Anti- Competitive Law

Squash the wrong bug, go to jail

This week, we filed our opening brief in WildEarth Guardians v DOJ,  a rare case in which we’re aligned with the federal government An

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By Jeremy Talcott

Making bad law for the rich will hurt the rest of us

Surfrider Foundation has been battling Vinod Khosla in the California courts for several years, trying to force him to allow the public to cross his private property and use his … ›

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By Mark Miller

A case that is for the birds flies to the Supreme Court

This past week Cato Institute, Southeastern Legal Foundation, and the NFIB Small Business Legal Center filed amicus briefs supporting our Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the Ganson v. City of Marathon regulatory takings case. … ›

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A victory for common sense in California

California has now rescinded the state’s onerous “certificate of authenticity” requirement for the sale of autographed books. Hear directly from Bill and case attorney Anastasia Boden about the impact of this victory for freedom, common sense, and Bill’s right to be an upstanding small business owner.

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By M. Reed Hopper

How federal agencies rig the system

One of the most fundamental rights of American citizens is the right to seek redress from illegal government action in a court of law But the federal government has an arsenal of weapons it wields to deny or curtail this right Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the government’s attempts to stifle landowner suits challenging federal agency action under the Clean Water Act

When a landowner challenges the federal government’s legal authority to regulate local land or water use under the act, the government response is as predictable as night follows day First, the government attacks the landowner’s standing to bring the suit arguing the landowner suffered no unique

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By Jonathan Wood

PLF continues fight against overcriminalization

Most people have heard of William Blackstone’s principle that it is better that many guilty people escape punishment than that a single innocent person be imprisoned, even if they haven’t … ›

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By Jonathan Wood

New paper highlights importance of New Jersey sports gambling case

The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Michelle Minton has a new paper highlighting the importance of the Supreme Court ruling the right way in New Jersey’s challenge to the Professional and Amateur … ›

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By Jeffrey W. McCoy

Georgia Supreme Court Upholds Anti-Competitive Law

On Monday, the Georgia Supreme Court issued its opinion in Women’s Surgical Center v. Berry, a case that challenged Georgia’s anti-competitive Certificate of Need (“CON”) laws. Certificate of Need laws, … ›

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Case Updates

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Press Release

Santa Barbara Association of Realtors v. City of Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City Council

Santa Barbara coerces home sellers into unconstitutional searches

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