President's weekly report — April 19, 2013

April 19, 2013 | By ROB RIVETT

Limited Government — Tax Limitations

We filed our petition and complaint in Morning Star Packing Company v. California Air Resources BoardThis is the case where we allege that California’s unique system of creating an auction for emission credits under AB 32 violates the California Constitution because scheme to raise billions of dollars were not adopted by a two-thirds majority, as required by Propositions 13 and 26.

Property Rights — Rent Control and Takings

The Ninth Circuit issued an adverse opinion in MHC Financing v. City of San Rafael, a case challenging a mobile home rent control ordinance as a taking.  The court had no problem with the reduction in value of the park from roughly $120 million to $23 million, that the challenged amendments reduced the revenue stream by $10.6 million, or that each owner of each mobile home was essentially given a gift of $67,000 by the ordinance because the current owner purchased the park when it was already under some form of rent control.  Because running a mobile home park is a “highly regulated” field, the owner had no reasonable expectation that there would not be increased regulation and rent control in the future.  Therefore there was no taking.  This decision pretty much guts the notion of regulatory takings in the Ninth Circuit and further limits there our prior Supreme Court victory in Palazzolo.  We had filed an amicus brief supporting the park owner.

Individual Rights — Equality Under the Law Project

We had an adverse decision from the Ninth Circuit in AGC San Diego v. CaltransIn this case we had challenged Caltrans renewed practice of giving discriminatory preferences to certain minority contractors in violation of the California and federal constitutions.  The Court, however, did not believe AGC had suffered enough of an injury to give it standing to sue, and even if it had standing, AGC had done enough study showing past discrimination that required remedial affirmative action measures.

Individual Rights — Freedom of Contract

We filed an amicus brief in the Washington Supreme Court in Hill v. Garda.  As explained elsewhere, this case involves employees who are trying to avoid the terms of contracts they signed sending labor related disputes to arbitration.

Environment — Endangered Species — Utah Prairie Dog

We filed our complaint in People for Ethical Treatment of Property Owners v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service alleging that the federal government lacks authority to regulate the Utah Prairie Dog under the Endangered Species Act because the critter does not exist in or affect interstate commerce.  Tens of thousands of these rodents are wreaking havoc upon landowners, a cemetery and an airport in southern Utah and the people can do little to effectively control this pest.

Environment — Endangered Species — Polar Bear 

We filed our motion for reconsideration with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in our challenge to the listing of the Polar Bear.