President's weekly report — November 30, 2012
Environment — Endangered Caribou
The United States Fish & Wildlife Service announced a drastic (and well-justified) reduction in critical habitat for the Selkirk Caribou from 375,000 to approximately 30,000 acres, based largely on the fact that the caribou do not live in lower elevations in Idaho as originally assumed. We still, however, don’t believe that this sub-population constitutes a listable species, and that the caribou should be considered part and parcel of other identical caribou in North America. Even with the reduction in critical habitat, the listing of the caribou is having serious adverse effects on the economies of rural communities. Our delisting petition, therefore, remains in place.
Property Rights — Koontz
We’ve received broad support for Mr. Coy Koontz, Jr., and his fight against the extortionate demands placed on his development proposal by St. Johns Water Management District. Nine amicus briefs from dozens of parties recognize the injustice being done to Mr. Koontz, and other landowners across the nation, from out-of-control regulatory agencies.
Property Rights — California Coastal Act
Earlier this week, the California Supreme Court ruled in Pacific Palisades Bowl Mobile Estates v. City of Los Angeles that a mobile home park owner must obtain a coastal development permit under the California Coastal Act if he wishes to convert his park from tenant occupancy to resident ownership. Pacific Legal Foundation submitted an amicus brief in support of Pacific Palisades, arguing that such a conversion does not constitute a “development” under the Coastal Act.
Individual Rights — Equal Access to Justice
The Michigan Attorney General filed a petition for writ of certiorari asking the Supreme Court to take up the challenge to that state’s anti-discrimination initiative Measure 2. In that case a sharply divided Sixth Circuit incongruously held that Measure 2 violated the Equal Protection Clause because it deprived minorities of the political right to seek preferential (unequal) treatment. We will be supporting the petition. Stay tuned to more on the fate of the decision in Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action v. Regents of the University of Michigan.
Free Enterprise Project — Freedom of Contract
The California Supreme Court denied review in Bartoni v. American Medical Response West. At issue was whether an arbitration clause in a collective bargaining agreement, that mandated arbitration on “all” disputes, included disputes governed by a California labor statute. Despite precedent from the United States Supreme Court holding that arbitration clauses should be interpreted literally, the California Court of Appeal said arbitration should not apply to the labor dispute. The California Supreme Court has let that decision stand.