Todd F. Gaziano

Chief of Legal Policy and Strategic Research, and Director, Center for the Separation of Powers

D.C.

Todd Gaziano joined PLF in 2014. He is the Chief of Legal Policy and Strategic Research, and he directs PLF’s Center for the Separation of Powers. Todd has served in all three branches of the federal government, worked in the private sector, and is a well-known scholar and leader in the liberty legal movement.

Todd attended the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics. His public law work includes service as a law clerk for U.S. Fifth Circuit Judge Edith Jones, in the U.S. DOJ Office of Legal Counsel, as a chief subcommittee counsel in the U.S. House of Representatives, and as the founding director of The Heritage Foundation’s Legal Center. He also had a six-year term as commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, where he reported on civil rights developments and conducted oversight and investigations of civil rights agencies. Early in his career, he was as a litigator in Houston, and more recently, was the Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of an innovative healthcare delivery and IT company.

Todd is a frequent legal commentator in print, on radio and TV, before congressional committees, and in other public settings. With more than 20 years in the liberty movement, Todd continues to publish scholarly papers and op-eds on constitutional and legal reform topics. He has a special interest in the constitutional limits of government, especially federalism and the separation of powers, and protections for individual rights. Several of his scholarly articles have influenced landmark Supreme Court litigation, congressional policy, and presidential actions. He also has worked to increase the effectiveness of many organizations within the freedom-based public interest legal movement.

Todd and his wife, also a practicing attorney, reside in Northern Virginia and are proud of their liberty-minded daughter, who is studying at the Antonin Scalia Law School to continue the family trade.

Todd Gaziano joined PLF in 2014. He is the Chief of Legal Policy and Strategic Research, and he directs PLF’s Center for the Separation of Powers. Todd has served in all three branches of the federal government, worked in the private sector, and is a well-known scholar and leader in the liberty legal movement.

Todd attended the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics. His public law work includes service as a law clerk for U.S. Fifth Circuit Judge Edith Jones, in the U.S. DOJ Office of Legal Counsel, as a chief subcommittee counsel in the U.S. House of Representatives, and as the founding director of The Heritage Foundation’s Legal Center. He also had a six-year term as commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, where he reported on civil rights developments and conducted oversight and investigations of civil rights agencies. Early in his career, he was as a litigator in Houston, and more recently, was the Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of an innovative healthcare delivery and IT company.

Todd is a frequent legal commentator in print, on radio and TV, before congressional committees, and in other public settings. With more than 20 years in the liberty movement, Todd continues to publish scholarly papers and op-eds on constitutional and legal reform topics. He has a special interest in the constitutional limits of government, especially federalism and the separation of powers, and protections for individual rights. Several of his scholarly articles have influenced landmark Supreme Court litigation, congressional policy, and presidential actions. He also has worked to increase the effectiveness of many organizations within the freedom-based public interest legal movement.

Todd and his wife, also a practicing attorney, reside in Northern Virginia and are proud of their liberty-minded daughter, who is studying at the Antonin Scalia Law School to continue the family trade.

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Property Rights

Kansas Natural Resource Coalition v. Department of Interior

Bad rulemaking threatens good conservation

A buffalo rancher by trade, Ken Klemm also uses his 4,000-acre ranch in Kansas for conservation efforts. In fact, Klemm works with the Kansas Natural Resource Coalition (KNRC) to implement a conservation plan for the lesser prairie chicken. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers such local collaboration for determining endangered listings under its 2003 rule called the Policy for Evaluating Conservation Efforts When Making Listing Decisions (PECE Rule). Unfortunately, the rule is not lawfully in effect because the Service never submitted the PECE Rule to Congress as required by the Congressional Review Act (CRA). On behalf of KNRC, PLF has filed a lawsuit demanding that the Service submit its rule to Congress so it can legally take effect and allow good conservation work to continue.

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Property Rights

Tugaw Ranches, LLC. v. U.S. Department of Interior

Illegal rulemaking threatens livelihoods

Like many western U.S. ranching families, the Picketts have worked on the same land in Idaho for many generations and have a thriving business selling naturally raised beef. And like many ranchers, their business depends on grazing permissions on federal land. But their livelihoods are threatened by rules that set aside over 65-million acres of federal land as a habitat for the sage-grouse — an animal that’s neither threatened nor endangered. In fact, sage-grouse management rules eliminate more than 31,000 jobs.

On behalf of the Picketts, Pacific Legal Foundation is challenging illegal rulemaking by government bureaucrats. Agencies implemented the sage-grouse plans without first submitting them to Congress as required under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). PLF argues the rule is unenforceable until the agencies comply with the CRA, and that it should be properly sent to Congress for consideration and, hopefully, eventual disapproval.

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Procedural Guarantees

Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association v. Ross

President Obama’s abuse of Antiquities Act declares 5,000 square miles of ocean off-limits

The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorizes the President to declare monuments on “land owned or controlled by the Federal government” to protect their historic or scientific value. On his way out of office, President Obama used this power to declare a 5,000 square mile area of the ocean to be the Northeast Canyons and Seamount Marine National Monument. Because the ocean is not “land owned or controlled by the Federal government,” PLF represents a coalition of fishing industry associations in a lawsuit challenging this abuse of the statute, which renders off-limits areas long used for sustainable commercial fishing near New England and the East Coast.

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Op-Ed

Investor’s Business Daily: Taming The Regulatory State: It’s A Constitutional Imperative

Originally published by Investor’s Business Daily August 31, 2018

According to one Mercatus Center study, each of us must obey over 1 million regulatory dictates, vastly more than the statutes written by our elected lawmakers in Congress

But the sheer number is not the only, or even the worst, problem The more troubling issue is the unconstitutional nature of the federal rulemaking and regulatory enforcement process This process makes regulations more onerous, numerous, and inflexible — and their enforcement more arbitrary and unreasonable — than if constitutional principles were followed

It’s time to tame the regulatory state Happily, an exciting constitutional revival is underway that could help return all three branches

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Op-Ed

Two-and-a-half cheers for May’s historic CRA actions

Originally published by The Hill May 29, 2018. The Congress and President Trump set two historic precedents last week when they enacted a law overturning the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) illegal and … ›

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Op-Ed

National Review: Restoring the indispensable protection for liberty

Published in National Review April 12, 2018. This week, the Pacific Legal Foundation filed a second wave of lawsuits in our campaign to accelerate the end of the unconstitutional administrative … ›

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Op-Ed

Wall Street Journal: Career civil servants illegitimately rule America

Originally published in The Wall Street Journal February 28, 2018. After Kimberly Manor lost her husband to lung cancer, she was inspired to make a dramatic career change. Kimberly now … ›

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Op-Ed

Kill Regulations to Save the Sage Grouse

Conventional wisdom holds that state and federal environmental regulation is better than either alone But even with the best of intentions, federal, one-size-fits-all regulation that interferes with more-effective state and private wildlife conservation efforts can cause real harm That’s true for the greater sage grouse, a chicken-size bird that is found on 172 million acres in eleven western states Federal sage-grouse plans issued in 2015 both hurt the sage grouse and threaten thousands of productive jobs tied to almost 73 million acres of federal land in the West Killing those federal rules will help the grouse

For an on-the-ground view of these issues, consider the case of Jack Farris,

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Op-Ed

It’s magical legal thinking to say Trump can’t reverse Obama’s national monuments

Suppose President Trump declared much of California, Nevada and Oregon — states that just happened to vote against him — off-limits to economic development and recreational use Suppose he barred all mining, grazing, agriculture and even camping from these states’ federal lands (roughly 46% of California, 85% of Nevada and 53% of Oregon) under a law to preserve national monuments of scientific and historical interest

According to some environmentalists and legal scholars, we would have to live with this result They believe a president can permanently designate federal land as a monument and restrict its uses — even if we’re talking about millions of acres (138 million acres

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