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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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 ...

August 04, 2011

Obamacare’s guessing game: who, what, when and will we win?

Everyone seems to agree that the Supreme Court will soon decide the constitutionality of Obamacare. But, which case will the Court grant certiorari in, and what issues will it take up? Conventional wisdom suggests that the Court will likely take the Florida case, in which 26 states are challenging the Act. This is already the most high ...

July 22, 2011

Federal court strikes down protectionist law in Louisiana

This week a judge ruled in favor of the monks at St. Joseph Abbey in their suit challenging a protectionist law. The monks wanted to provide for themselves by building and selling handcrafted caskets. But, “Under Louisiana law, it was a crime for anyone but a government-licensed funeral director to sell ‘funeral merchandise,’ whi ...

June 17, 2011

LEED is not green enough for Coastal Commission

Yesterday I attended the California Coastal Commission’s meeting in Marina Del Ray as part of our Coastal Land Rights Project’s mission to monitor the Commission’s activities. The Commission spent almost an entire day debating six permits, which Commission staff viewed as one project. The meeting was very contentious. The six appl ...

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