Luke Wake

Attorney Sacramento

Luke Wake is an attorney in PLF’s separation of powers practice group. He litigates cases challenging agency rulemaking decisions as contrary to governing statutes and separation of powers doctrine. In addition, he protects the due process rights of individuals and businesses in challenging improper administrative inspections and other enforcement conduct.

Previously, as a senior staff attorney for the NFIB Small Business Legal Center, Luke worked on a wide breadth of regulatory issues affecting small businesses throughout the country. With this background, he understands and appreciates the challenges regulation poses to entrepreneurs and the need for strategic litigation to hold government agencies accountable to the rule of law.

Luke received his B.A. from Elon University in North Carolina and graduated from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. During law school, he completed a summer externship with Justice Robert Edmunds of the North Carolina Supreme Court. After law school, he completed a two-year fellowship in PLF’s College of Public Interest Law, working on property rights cases.

Luke is licensed in California and the District of Columbia.

Crystal Waldron and Club 519 v. Governor Roy A. Cooper

North Carolina couple fights to save bar from governor’s unlawful COVID power grab

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper unilaterally declared a state of emergency that only he is authorized to end. Since then, the governor has issued a series of executive orders that allow nearly every establishment that sells alcoholic beverages to remain open but that force most private bars (establishments whic ...

Ghost Golf, Inc., et al. v. Newsom

Small businesses fight Gov. Newsom’s unlawful color-code shutdown scheme

At Ghost Golf in Fresno, the weeks leading up to Halloween mark the peak season for the haunted house-themed miniature golf center, earning enough money for owner Daryn Coleman and his family to weather the springtime slowdown. This year, however, Ghost Golf has been closed since March, haunted by Governor Gavin Newsom’s COVID-related busines ...

Skyworks Ltd. v. Centers for Disease Control; Chambless Enterprises, LLC v. Centers for Disease Control

Fighting the CDC’s national eviction ban to restore separation of powers

In early September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adopted an order that prohibits certain evictions for non-payment of rent. However, in its haste to enact and enforce a national eviction ban, the CDC overstepped its lawful authority by exercising legislative power reserved to Congress, and it did so at the expense of struggl ...

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August 27, 2021

Supreme Court sides with landlords and PLF, secures an injunction against CDC’s eviction moratorium

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Alabama Association of Realtors v. Department of Health and Human Services, affirming what Pacific Legal Foundation has argued on behalf of landowners for nearly a year—that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lacked the constitutional authority to enforce its nationwide eviction mo ...

August 11, 2021

Daily Journal: When Washington bureaucrats hold the reins of power

The Biden administration was in a box in late July. They desperately wanted to extend the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's controversial eviction moratorium. But the judicial writing was on the wall. They had suffered an embarrassing string of losses in the federal courts and had received a warning from the U.S. Supreme Co ...

June 04, 2021

The unintended consequences of CDC’s national eviction moratorium

Newton's third law of physics is that for every action in nature, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That rule also seems to apply in the business world when it comes to regulation of free enterprise. That is to say that regulation always has unintended consequences—some predictable, others less obvious. And that rule is ...

September 01, 2020

The Hill: Why governors shouldn’t have unchecked emergency powers

Reasonable minds may disagree on how to respond to COVID-19, but we can all agree that states should be enabled to protect public health and safety during an emergency. We should also be able to agree that the states' responses must conform to the U.S. Constitution. But the current crisis raises serious questions about who ...

July 14, 2020

The limits of a governor’s emergency powers

Even in a public health emergency, the constitution still matters. That's one lesson we can take from the restraining order issued by a California judge on June 12 halting one of Governor Gavin Newsom's emergency orders. The ruling argued that Newsom's order overstepped his office's authority, infringing upon the legislature's lawmaking powers. The ...

August 19, 2011

Rescuing liberty is a tall order

It’s safe to say that the fight for liberty in America is an uphill battle because, we’re fighting to restore our lost constitution in face of difficult precedent. Yet despite bumps in the road, we never give up, and we never give in. To quote the great American patriot John Paul Jones, “We have not ...

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