Anthony L. Francois

Senior Attorney

Sacramento

Tony Francois is an attorney in PLF’s Sacramento office, and has litigated cases around the country defending Americans’ property rights from land use and environmental restrictions. He is a member of the California State Bar and also practices before several federal trial and appellate courts and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Since graduating from college in 1987, Tony has continuously fought government, starting with other countries’ governments as an Infantry officer in the U.S. Army. He served in the former West Germany at the close of the Cold War and personally removed a portion of the Berlin Wall in 1990. Close proximity to the Soviet and Warsaw Pact communist governments of the Cold War gave him a permanent desire to defend freedom against government tyranny.

The end of the Cold War and return to the States in the early 90s led him to see that many government abuses were taking hold in our country as well. Tony was also inspired to trade the military barracks for the courtroom by reading about abuses imposed by the IRS on American taxpayers, and well as the epic conflict between Wayne Hage and the U.S. Forest Service over grazing and water rights in the Western States.

Tony graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1996 with honors. After representing farmers, ranchers, and other landowners in private law practice and then for a decade as a policy advocate before the California legislature, Tony joined PLF in 2012. In his off hours, he enjoys martial arts, Giants baseball, reading history, and raising his family with his wife in Sacramento.

Tony Francois is an attorney in PLF’s Sacramento office, and has litigated cases around the country defending Americans’ property rights from land use and environmental restrictions. He is a member of the California State Bar and also practices before several federal trial and appellate courts and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Since graduating from college in 1987, Tony has continuously fought government, starting with other countries’ governments as an Infantry officer in the U.S. Army. He served in the former West Germany at the close of the Cold War and personally removed a portion of the Berlin Wall in 1990. Close proximity to the Soviet and Warsaw Pact communist governments of the Cold War gave him a permanent desire to defend freedom against government tyranny.

The end of the Cold War and return to the States in the early 90s led him to see that many government abuses were taking hold in our country as well. Tony was also inspired to trade the military barracks for the courtroom by reading about abuses imposed by the IRS on American taxpayers, and well as the epic conflict between Wayne Hage and the U.S. Forest Service over grazing and water rights in the Western States.

Tony graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1996 with honors. After representing farmers, ranchers, and other landowners in private law practice and then for a decade as a policy advocate before the California legislature, Tony joined PLF in 2012. In his off hours, he enjoys martial arts, Giants baseball, reading history, and raising his family with his wife in Sacramento.

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Property Rights

Waters of the United States

Unanimous U.S. Supreme Court victory for PLF and property rights

In 2015 PLF challenged the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to stretch federal control to nearly every pond, ditch, and puddle in the nation as nothing more than an outrageous—and illegal—power grab under cover of the Clean Water Act. And under the Act, people who are harmed by such rules have six years to sue in federal district court. That is, until the EPA rewrote the rule, trying to prevent legal action by giving property owners just 120 days to sue, and then only in federal appellate courts. On January 22, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the EPA’s power play and unanimously ruled for PLF and property rights. The High Court agreed with PLF that the EPA cannot shelter its “waters of the United States” rule from judicial review by arbitrarily limiting where victims can sue.

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Property Rights

Markle v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. Supreme Court to take up Edward Poitevent’s “Phantom Frog” problem

In 2012, government bureaucrats designated more than 1,500 acres of privately owned land in Louisiana as a “critical habitat” for the federally-protected dusky gopher frog. Regardless of the fact the frog neither lives anywhere in the state nor could live there, the critical habitat designation makes the land off-limits for all of the property owners including Ed Poitevent and his business, Markle Interests, and the Weyerhaeuser Company. On January 22, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will hear a challenge to this blatant abuse of the Endangered Species Act. PLF represents the Poitevent family and related businesses, and will represent their interests before the Court.

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Procedural Guarantees

California Cattlemen’s Association v. California Fish and Game Commission

Wandering lone wolf in California triggers “endangered” listing

Based on the sighting of a lone non-native gray wolf in California, the state Fish and Game Commission listed the gray wolf species under the California Endangered Species Act, effective January 1, 2017. On behalf of the California Cattlemen’s Association, the California Farm Bureau Federation, and their members, PLF sued to invalidate this illegal listing, which protects a non-native species at the expense of native species, ignores the growing wolf populations outside California, and upends a multi-year collaborative process among government, environmental, and ranching interests to balance wolf protection with livestock protection. 

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By Anthony L. Francois

EPA ignores PLF advice on Congressional Review Act and WOTUS

Last year, following President Trump’s executive order directing EPA to rewrite its disastrous 2015 regulation which magically redefined millions of acres of dry land across the nation as federally protected navigable waterways, PLF offered EPA some advice, not only on how to rewrite the rule to make it conform to the limits of the Clean Water Act, but also how to make it stand the test of time through strategic use of the Congressional Review Act As reported yesterday by E&E News (subscription required), EPA never responded to our advice, and now the agency is in a quandary over how to carry out the President’s instructions

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By Anthony L. Francois

Court rules First Amendment allows cities to force property owners to patronize and publicly display artworks

The City of Oakland in California is forcing property owners to patronize and publicly display artworks.

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By Anthony L. Francois

Supreme Court win for PLF opens way to challenge EPA land grab

We will now be able to proceed to the merits of the case, with high hopes for success in getting this illegal land grab thrown out.

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By Anthony L. Francois

Ninth Circuit affirms prison for man who built ponds without permit

The Ninth Circuit issued a disappointing decision affirming the federal conviction of a Montana man for building some ponds without a Clean Water Act permit.

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By Anthony L. Francois

Veterans Day

Why might Americans reflect on Communism and its almost complete demise, on Veterans Day? If you are thankful that Communism is a discredited and failed system in parts of the world it once enslaved, thank a Veteran.

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By Anthony L. Francois

Ninth Circuit poses tough questions to government in Robertson argument

Today’s Ninth Circuit oral argument in US v Robertson produced an interesting series of exchanges between the Justice Department appellate attorney and Ninth Circuit Judges Gould and McKeown A key issue in the case, as I laid out in this morning’s post, is whether the Clean Water Act’s counter-intuitive definition of “navigable water” affords regulated parties with constitutionally adequate fair notice of what the law requires and prohibits

Oddly, Mr Robertson’s attorney made no mention of this point in his argument, but Judge Gould pressed the government’s attorney on it repeatedly By my notes and rewatching of the argument video (See below, from 14:14 through 28:57), Judge

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