Caleb R. Trotter

Attorney

Sacramento

Caleb Trotter joined Pacific Legal Foundation in September 2015. He primarily litigates cases involving economic liberty, the First Amendment, school choice, and the administrative state.

After growing up in Oklahoma, Caleb moved to New Orleans to attend college at Tulane University. Roll Wave! After witnessing government screw-ups at every level following Hurricane Katrina, Caleb began seriously questioning big government. The laissez faire culture of New Orleans also began to affect Caleb’s views on individualism, and after being introduced to the liberty movement by Reason Magazine, Caleb began to realize that a career in banking was no longer for him. So in 2012, Caleb decided to run for Congress and go to law school so he could advocate and fight for liberty.

Caleb attended law school at Loyola University New Orleans, where he graduated cum laude, served as a member of the Loyola Law Review and moot court program, and was a Federalist Society chapter officer. While in law school, Caleb externed at the Jefferson Parish, Louisiana public defender’s office, and clerked at the Institute for Justice. Those experiences confirmed for Caleb that defending individual liberty through public interest law was the path for him, and working at PLF enables him to do just that.

When he’s not directly fighting for liberty, Caleb can usually be found watching Texas Rangers baseball, performing improv, traveling, or tramping around the wilderness with a camera. Caleb is also an Eagle Scout, and once was nearly clobbered by a golf ball hit by Tiger Woods during the 2001 U.S. Open.

Caleb Trotter joined Pacific Legal Foundation in September 2015. He primarily litigates cases involving economic liberty, the First Amendment, school choice, and the administrative state.

After growing up in Oklahoma, Caleb moved to New Orleans to attend college at Tulane University. Roll Wave! After witnessing government screw-ups at every level following Hurricane Katrina, Caleb began seriously questioning big government. The laissez faire culture of New Orleans also began to affect Caleb’s views on individualism, and after being introduced to the liberty movement by Reason Magazine, Caleb began to realize that a career in banking was no longer for him. So in 2012, Caleb decided to run for Congress and go to law school so he could advocate and fight for liberty.

Caleb attended law school at Loyola University New Orleans, where he graduated cum laude, served as a member of the Loyola Law Review and moot court program, and was a Federalist Society chapter officer. While in law school, Caleb externed at the Jefferson Parish, Louisiana public defender’s office, and clerked at the Institute for Justice. Those experiences confirmed for Caleb that defending individual liberty through public interest law was the path for him, and working at PLF enables him to do just that.

When he’s not directly fighting for liberty, Caleb can usually be found watching Texas Rangers baseball, performing improv, traveling, or tramping around the wilderness with a camera. Caleb is also an Eagle Scout, and once was nearly clobbered by a golf ball hit by Tiger Woods during the 2001 U.S. Open.

Read less
Personal Liberties

Fontenot v. Hunter, Attorney General of Oklahoma

A state cannot prevent truthful marketing of art as “American Indian-made.”

Peggy Fontenot is an award-winning American Indian photographer and artist, specializing in hand-made beaded jewelry and cultural items. A member of Virginia’s Patawomeck tribe, she has made her living for 30 years traveling the country to show and sell her American Indian art. She regularly participated in Oklahoma art festivals until local, politically-connected tribes convinced the state legislature to restrict the definition of “Indian tribe” to include only those tribes recognized by the federal government. The restriction was ostensibly to prevent the marketing and sale of art fraudulently described as “American Indian-made.” However, as a result of this law, Ms. Fontenot – a legitimate member of a state-recognized tribe – may no longer truthfully describe her art as “American Indian-made” in the state of Oklahoma.

Read more
Property Rights

Cascadia Wildlands v. Scott Timber Company

Putting a thumb on the scale to benefit environmentalist plaintiffs

In environmental litigation, preliminary injunctions—orders from the court for a defendant to stop challenged activities while a case proceeds—are a way of life. Environmental plaintiffs routinely seek and obtain preliminary injunctions that can grind expensive, multi-year projects to a standstill. They do so because courts “presume” that they meet some of the requirements for an injunction and then require only a minimal showing on the others. As amicus, PLF argues that the combination of presumptions and minimal showings means that the supposedly “rare” act of enjoining a defendant happens with regularity, to the detriment of fair and balanced administration of justice.

Read more
Personal Liberties

Niang v. Carroll

Cosmetology cartel seeks to squash competition by African-style hair braiders

Missouri law requires African-style hair braiders to be licensed as a cosmetologist or barber. To obtain such a license, an applicant must pass a background check, undergo thousands of hours of training (costing thousands of dollars to attend special schools), and pass an exam. Neither the cosmetology nor barbering curricula teach African-style hair braiding. Ndioba Niang and Tameka Stigers are unlicensed professional hair braiders who sued the state Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners for violating their right to earn a living. The district court upheld the law after finding there might conceivably be legitimate purposes minimally advanced by the law. The braiders appealed and PLF filed an amicus brief supporting their claims.

Read more
Post

By Caleb R. Trotter

Oklahoma cannot stop American Indian artists from calling their art American Indian-made

For over 30 years, Peggy Fontenot has made, displayed, and sold American Indian art, often traveling the country to participate in American Indian art shows and festivals. Her specialty is … ›

Read more
Post

By Caleb R. Trotter

Public comment reopened for federal wine labeling regulations

Over a year ago, I wrote about a pending federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) regulation that would remove certain common-sense labeling exceptions for wines sold within a single state As I explained then, under the proposed rule, if a winemaker chooses to label their wine using an “appellation of origin” from a recognized viticultural area like Napa, then the wine must meet certain requirements Those requirements include: 85 percent of the grapes used to make the wine must be grown in the named area, and the wine must be “finished” (ie fully produced and bottled) in the

Read more
Post

By Caleb R. Trotter

Pennsylvania Supreme Court enables school district's bad behavior

This week the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided Discovery Charter School v School District of Philadelphia As we discussed last year, Discovery is a successful Philadelphia school that serves grades K-8 In light of its students’ academic success, Discovery amassed a waiting list of 1,448 hopeful new students In 2012, Discovery sought permission from the School District of Philadelphia to amend its charter to increase enrollment by 430 students over a four-year period But the school district failed to formally act on Discovery’s amendment request, instead choosing to informally decide not to vote on charter enrollment expansions

Read more
Post

By Caleb R. Trotter

Palm Lane Elementary will finally convert to a charter school

In April, the California Court of Appeal affirmed a victory won by parents of students at Anaheim’s Palm Lane Elementary School The parents had used California’s “parent trigger” law to petition to have the perpetually failing school converted into a charter school, but the school district sued the parents to stop the petition and conversion Earlier this month, the California Supreme Court declined to take up the case, so the parents’ victory is final and the school district must allow the conversion to proceed

Well, good news travels fast On July 26, the Anaheim Elementary School District finally voted to accept the

Read more
Post

By Caleb R. Trotter

Nashville Airbnb case continues

Courtesy, Beacon Center

Back in October we reported that Nashville homeowners Rachel and PJ Anderson had prevailed in their challenge to Nashville’s restrictive and unconstitutional limitation on short-term rentals Unfortunately, instead of doing the right thing and amending its law to respect the rights of all Nashville property owners, the city appealed that loss Today, PLF filed yet another amicus brief supporting the rights of Nashvillians to use their property to support their family

As we previously discussed, in response to the growing popularity of websites like Read more

Post

By Caleb R. Trotter

Occupational de-licensing in Connecticut

Earlier this week Connecticut removed occupational licensing, registration, and certificate requirements for several professions The de-licensing of an occupation is especially notable because of its rarity A 2015 study authored by Dr Robert J Thornton and Dr Edward J Timmons, and published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, found that there were only eight instances of occupational de-licensing in the previous 40 years So, kudos to Connecticut lawmakers for accomplishing a feat rarely seen And if you’re an above-ground swimming pool installer, uniform student athlete agent, licensed

Read more