The President's Weekly Report

October 31, 2014 | By ROB RIVETT

Environmental Law – Judicial Review of Jurisdictional Determinations

This week we asked the United States Supreme Court to review a decision of the Fifth Circuit holding that landowners have no right to challenge a determination by the United States Army Corps of Engineers that their land is subject to the agency’s permitting control under the Clean Water Act.  The petition, styled Kent Recycling Co. v. U.S. Army Corps of Eng’rs, argues that landowners have a right of judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act.  Our petition seeks to expand on PLF’s victory in Sackett v. EPA, in which the Supreme Court ruled that landowners have a right to challenge a Clean Water Act compliance order issued by EPA.

Property Rights – Commercial Speech

In McLean v. City of Alexandria, PLF attorneys represent Scott McLean, a resident of the City of Alexandria who wants to advertise his pick-up truck for sale.  The City, however, has an ordinance that forbids cars from displaying “For Sale” signs while parked on city streets.  We therefore filed a lawsuit challenging the ordinance as a violation of the First Amendment’s protections for commercial speech.  This week, the City announced that it was temporarily suspending its unconstitutional speech restriction.  Let’s hope that the City soon makes this suspension permanent.

Property Rights – Fighting for Beer Freedom

Unique among the 50 states, Florida prohibits the sale of beer in 64-ounce containers (commonly known as “growlers”).  This week, we challenged the law with a complaint filed on behalf of The Crafted Keg, a Florida growler bar.  Our lawsuit contends that the state’s law is essentially a protectionist statute passed at the urging of the Big Beer interests.  Because the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits such economic protectionism, we contend that the growler ban must fall.

Individual Rights – School Choice

This week the Washington Supreme Court heard oral argument in League of Women Voters v. Washington, a challenge under the Washington State Constitution to the funding of charter schools.  The plaintiffs argue that charter school funding violates the state constitution’s requirement that money earmarked for education be restricted to “common schools.”  Charter school defenders argue, however, that such schools are “common schools” and that the state should have flexibility in experimenting with a variety of tools to provide a better quality education to all Washington students.