President's weekly report — May 22, 2015

May 22, 2015 | By ROB RIVETT

School choice — good result in Florida

A Florida trial court a dismissed a union-led lawsuit, Mcall v. Scott, challenging the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. The Florida Legislature created the Tax Credit Scholarship Program in 2001, which gives dollar-for-dollar tax credits for donations from corporations to K-12 scholarship funding organizations. Nearly 70,000 Florida students from lower-income families are attending the private school of their choice thanks to these scholarships.  For more on the union’s attempt to scuttle this worthy program, see our blog here.

Endangered Species Act — Jaguar critical habitat filing

We filed this complaint this week in New Mexico Farm & Livestock Bureau v. Department of Interior challenging the designation of tens of thousands of acres in New Mexico as critical habitat for the jaguar — the big cat found mostly in the jungles in old Mexico and south.  It seems that in the past four decades of couple of wandering male jaguars were seen briefly in a national forest — which the feds and the Center for Biological Diversity think is enough to justify listing a large swath of land as critical habitat.  But as our blog post points out, this is not enough.

Competitor’s veto in Pennsylvania — new challenge filed

We filed this complaint in Losco v. Powelson, our challenge to Pennsylvania’s competitor’s veto laws.  In this case, Cosmo and Mary Anne Losco want to open a franchise of College Hunks Moving company, but must first obtain the permission of any existing competitors.  As our blog post explains, this is just wrong. What if Ben Franklin had to get permission of his competitors before publishing his Pennsylvania Gazette?  Why, the voice of the revolution might have never have been heard and we’d still be suffering the erection of a multitude of new offices and harassment by swarms of officers. To learn more about the Competitor’s Veto visit our new web page here.  Or if you have only 60 seconds, just watch this short video.

Endangered species and federal power — the Utah prairie dog

We filed our reply brief  this week in People for Ethical Treatment of Animals v. United States Fish & Wildlife Service.  This is our challenge to the federal government’s regulation of the Utah prairie dog — a rodent found only in Utah and which has no economic use.  Here, the federal government claims that the Constitution’s Commerce Clause combined with the Necessary and Proper Clause gives it authority to regulate activities affecting the critter.  But what interstate commerce is there in an animal that no one buys or sells and which doesn’t cross state lines?  The Feds have a breathtaking answer to that question, which essentially is this: “We have the right to regulate anything over which we can create a comprehensive nationwide regulatory scheme — like the Endangered Species Act — because that scheme might affect commerce.”  In other words, the feds have the authority to regulate things over which they can create a big fat intrusive regulatory scheme.  But wouldn’t it be simpler just to tear up the Constitution instead of pretending it means something?  For our answer to this constitutional bootstrapping see our brief and this entry in our blog.

Wetlands — encouraging development in jurisdictional determination case

Last month, Pacific Legal Foundation asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its order denying the petition for writ of certiorari we filed in an important wetlands case known as Kent Recycling Services LLC v. Army Corps of Engineers. You can read our petition for rehearing at this link.  On Monday, the Court asked the government to respond to our petition — a hopeful sign that someone at the Court is taking a careful new look at this case.

Testimony on EPA’s failure to use the Science Advisory Board

PLF Attorney Ted Hadzi-Antich gave testimony to the Senate Committee on Science and Public Works on EPA’s refusal to puts its greenhouse gas regulations before the Science Advisory Board as required by law.  A link to the testimony is on our blog here.

Endangered species event

We’ll be co-hosting an event with the Competitive Enterprise Institute on June 2nd in D.C. More information on that event can be found here.