President's weekly report — March 29, 2013

March 29, 2013 | By ROB RIVETT

Individual Rights — School Choice Victory

We had a nice victory from the Indiana Supreme Court when it upheld in Meredith v. Pence that state’s school choice program. As we’ve explained, this is a great victory for school choice because Indiana’s program is expansive and the teacher-funded attack on that state’s voucher program would have greatly complicated the ability of religious organizations from providing educational choice. You can read our amicus brief here.

Individual Rights — Equality Under the Law

The United States Supreme Court granted a petition for writ of cert in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. This is the case where the Sixth Circuit struck down Michigan’s Proposition 2 — that states analog to California’s Proposition 209. As you may recall, a fractured court held that the measure to end discrimination by stopping discrimination was itself a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. Those same arguments had been made, unsuccessfully, in challenges to California’s Proposition 209. We are delighted that the Court took up this case because it now has the opportunity to resolve the question whether states can put an end to misbegotten preferences that do more to foster discrimination than end it. We filed an amicus brief in support of the petition and will support Measure 2 on the merits.

Environment — Endangered Species Act

We filed our complaint in Pacific Legal Foundation v. Salazar, in which we are seeking to force the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to delist two plants, the Eureka Valley evening primrose and the Eureka Valley dunegrass and to downlist the tidewater goby. As we’ve explained, after we learned that the Service had failed to perform a five-year review of these and others species we sued. The Service then agreed to do the study and eventually released a study showing, according to the Service’s own study, that these plants and critter should have their status altered. But again, the Service did nothing. So after giving them a 60 day warning letter, we’ve sued again.

Environment — Air Regulations

This week we filed a Petition for Review in the D.C. Circuit, challenging EPA’s denial of our administrative petition for reconsideration of EPA’s Light Duty Vehicle Rule Phase I. It took EPA approximately two years to deny our petition. The basis of our petition is that EPA failed to send the LDVR I to the Science Advisory Board for scientific peer review as required by law.

Free Enterprise Project — Tort Reform

We filed an amicus brief in the California Supreme Court in Duran v. US Bank. We argue that just because a class certification is more “convenient” doesn’t mean the constitution’s right to due process (which includes that people suing you can actually claim some injury).

Free Enterprise — Tort Reform

Oral argument was held this week in Oxford Heath v. Sutter at the United States Supreme Court. We had filed an amicus brief arguing that class certifications should not be imputed in an arbitration clause.

Property Rights — Hawaii Land Titles

Nearly three years after we filed our amicus brief, the Hawaii Supreme Court heard arguments this week in the Matter of the Trustees of the Will and Estate of James Campbell. This case asks whether the state can come in and declare itself the owner of mineral rights years after the right to challenge a deed has expired, and whether the public trust doctrine imposes a flowage easement over private property. As explained in more detail in his excellent blog post on the case, Robert Thomas tells us, this case is of considerable importance in Hawaii.