President's weekly report — March 13, 2015
Property Rights — Coastal project victory
We had another fine preliminary victory against the California Coastal Commission in Beach & Bluff Conservancy v. City of Solana Beach and California Coastal Commission. Here, we are challenging a local coastal plan adopted by the City of Solana Beach — after it was largely rewritten by the Coastal Commission — because it has a policy against seawalls. In a nutshell, if a landowner obtains a building permit, the landowner is now supposed to agree never to ask for a permit to build a shore protection device. We think this demand violates the principles established in like Nollan, Dolan, and Koontz. This week the trial court rejected an attempt by the City and Commission to have our suit tossed out on procedural grounds.
Property Rights — Coastal project
We filed this brief at the California Supreme Court in Lynch v. California Coastal Commission. In this case, the Commission refused to grant two coastal landowners permission to rebuild a stairway that was destroyed in a storm and told the landowners that they could build a seawall — but only if they agreed to tear it out in 20 years unless the applied for, and received, a brand new permit 20 years hence. We think this demand violates the principles established in like Nollan, Dolan, and Koontz.
Free Enterprise Project — Tort reform
We filed this amicus brief in Kesner v. Superior Court in the California Supreme Court. Here, the tort lawyers are trying to expand liability to yet more defendants — even to those with no relationship of any kind with the plaintiff. Here, a nephew has sued his uncle’s employer for asbestos-related lung disease based on the fact that he sometimes visited his uncle whose clothes had been exposed to asbestos dust at work. Of course, the nephew went on to work at a number of places where asbestos was present, but that doesn’t matter when deep-pockets liability is concerned. For more on this, see our blog.
Environment — The frog that isn’t there
We filed this reply brief in Markle Investments v. United States, a case where the United States Fish & Wildlife Service has declared land in Louisiana as critical habitat for the Dusky Gopher Frog, formerly known as the Mississippi Gopher Frog, despite the fact that the land is unsuitable for the frog and hasn’t been visited by the frog in over a half-century. For more, see our blog here.
Equality Under the Law Project — Another brief in Fisher
We filed this amicus brief supporting Abigail Fisher’s petition asking the Supreme Court to take up her case yet again in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. You may recall, that at her last trip to the Supreme Court, the Court ruled that the University had the burden of proving that race-based admissions preferences met the strict scrutiny standard of review, meaning it had to demonstrate the discrimination was necessary and there were no better alternatives. But after the Court of Appeals pretty much rubber-stamped the University’s flawed reasoning, in the name of “diversity,” Fisher is again asking the Supreme Court to review. The point of our brief is to show that the nation’s universities are not yet taking the Court’s prior decision seriously enough. For more, see our blog post here.
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