President's weekly report — November 13, 2015

November 13, 2015 | By ROB RIVETT

Obamacare case dismissed and the administration continues to evade the law

A district court dismissed West Virginia v. Department of Health and Human Services, that state’s challenge to the provisions in Obamacare that forced states to choose between enforcing Obamacare’s requirements for insurance policies or letting the Feds do the enforcement.  But because that was so unpopular, and an election was looming, the administration said it wouldn’t enforce those provisions, for now, but will leave that task up to the states. But if the state’s don’t enforce the law that the administration refuses to, then the states will suffer under other provisions of Obamacare.  In other words, the states get to take the blame for any decisions to enforce, or not enforce, the statute.  The district court turned back the case because it said so long as the states had some choice, even this Hobson’s choice, they were not being unfairly coerced.  For a more detailed explanation of the administration’s shenanigans see our blog post here or read or amicus brief here.

Argument held in challenge to California air rules

In order for California to impose stricter air pollution rules on the transportation industry, the EPA must make a certain findings showing the necessity of these rules.  In Dalton Trucking v. EPA, we’re arguing that the California waiver here is unlawful.  Oral argument was held on Monday before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.  One of the crucial issues before the Court is whether the case should be heard by that court or the Ninth Circuit.  As our blog post explains, we think the law is clear that this case belongs in the Ninth Circuit

Supreme Court poised to decide whether to take Hawkes and Kent Recyclng

The government filed  this reply brief this week to our response to the government’s petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court in Hawkes v. United States.  This is one of two cases, the other being Kent Recycling, where we’re arguing that landowners are entitled to judicial review of a wetlands “jurisdictional determination.”  The Court will likely decide whether it will take at least one of these cases, Hawkes, at it’s December 4th conference, meaning we probably know by December 7th.

Argument scheduled in Nebraska’s attempt to squelch free speech

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals scheduled oral argument in Young v. Ricketts for December 15, in St. Paul, Minnesota. That’s the case where Nebraska is claiming that Leslie Young cannot post information about homeowners seeking to sell their homes on her website unless she first obtains a broker’s license.  But because she’s not involved in showing or selling the homes, and doesn’t even operate out of Nebraska, we think that requirement is totally absurd.

Challenging local government taxing schemes

Yesterday we filed our opening brief on appeal in Building Industry Association — Bay Area v. San Ramon.  [For more information, see our blog post here.] The case, pending in the California court of appeal in San Francisco, concerns a challenge to a property tax levied by a City of San Ramon community facilities district.  Our appeal contends that the tax is illegal, for three reasons.  First, the tax violates the Mello-Roos Act’s authorization for community facilities district special taxes, because the tax’s proceeds will not be used to pay for any new or enhanced service to the City residents who pay the tax.  Second, the tax violates the California Constitution’s prohibition on special districts levying “general” taxes.  And third, the tax’s implementing ordinance unconstitutionally retaliates against City residents by threatening them with serious financial liabilities should they succeed in repealing the tax.