President's weekly report — January 23, 2015
Property Rights — New Jersey rejects takings claim
The New Jersey Supreme Court issued this adverse ruling in Griepenburg v. Township of Ocean. In that case the New Jersey Supreme Court held that a local government can zone a property in a manner to benefit everyone else but the property owners, and those property owners can do little other than afterwards ask their government to ignore the very zoning it imposed specifically to limit their property in the first place, and grant them a variance. For more, see our blog on the case.
Equality Under the Law — Argument held in case against State Department
PLF attorney Joshua Thompson argued Shea v. Kerry this week before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. In this case we are challenging the State Department’s affirmative action program that restricted entry into mid-level career paths based on an employee’s race. You can listen to the argument here and read more about the case and arguments here.
Dormant Commerce Clause and electricity wars
We filed this amicus brief amicus in North Dakota v. Heydinger on behalf of PLF and the NFIB Small Business Legal Center. In Heydinger, North Dakota is challenging Michigan’s scheme to impose penalties on the buying of electricity from states with lower regulatory costs. Put another way, Minnesota is seeking to punish states without Minnesota’s carbon restrictions by imposing a de facto carbon tariff on energy from states such as North Dakota. The framers of the Constitution were quite concerned that individual states might engage in trade wars with neighboring states — and therefore reserved to the Federal Government the exclusive power to regulate commerce among the states. As explained in our blog, Minnesota’s actions, if not checked, could lead to the balkanization of trade in the United States, or enable some states to impose their regulatory whims upon other states.