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.

Peter Stavrianoudakis, et al., v. United States Department of Fish & Wildlife and California Department of Fish & Wildlife

Falconry regulations run afoul of the Bill of Rights

Peter Stavrianoudakis is a longtime licensed falconer in California who just wants to do what people have been doing for thousands of years—raise and train falcons. But state and federal regulations have become so restrictive, he and fellow falconers around the country are left to choose between their falcons or their constitutional rights. Pacif ...

Timbs v. Indiana

Excessive Fines Clause applies to all governments

PLF has joined a crucial case brought by our allies at Institute for Justice to address a situation faced by many PLF clients—fines and forfeitures that far outweigh their alleged offenses. Tyson Timbs argues in a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court that such disproportionate punishments by state and local governments violate the Eighth Amendment& ...

Gundy v. United States

Congress must do its own job—make laws

The Constitution gives Congress the power to make laws, but not to delegate that power to the Executive Branch. Doing so allows unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats to make rules in violation of the Non-Delegation doctrine. In Gundy, the U.S. Supreme Court will review whether Congress violated the Non-Delegation doctrine by empowering the Attorney ...

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 di ...

Weyerhaeuser/Markle v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Government-sanctioned private land grabs over absent animals are illegal

The U.S. Supreme Court opened its fall term on October 1, 2018, with the famous “frog case” out of Louisiana. That’s where federal regulators declared more than 1,500 acres of private land as a critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog—a species not seen in the state for more than 50 years. PLF client Edward Poitevent owns 95 p ...

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 i ...

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September 30, 2019

The Hill: Federal waters rule repeal: Much ado about (almost) nothing

This month, Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) head Andrew Wheeler rescinded the infamous Waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulation. This rule, a case study in EPA regulatory overreach, asserted federal government control under the Clean Water Act over millions of acres of private property across the country, based on the absurd the ...

August 28, 2019

A Rancher’s property rights and the right to conserve

The Clean Water Act (CWA) is supposed to protect and enhance our nation's waters. But too often, government bureaucrats use that broad mandate to stomp on private landowners' property rights—even when those private landowners are trying to protect the land themselves. In a bitter twist, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is using the CWA t ...

July 19, 2019

Dry creek beds aren’t navigable water, no matter what the EPA says

Curtis Martin is a rancher. Scenic hills surround his remote Oregon farmland, where he grazes his livestock and grows feed for them. Curtis, and thousands like him across our nation, feed America and the world. Farming is a risky venture. Curtis can't control the weather, crop prices, equipment costs, or the price he will get ...

July 15, 2019

The Daily Caller: The Supreme Court Gets It Right Thanks To Justice Roberts

Before he was confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2006, Chief Justice John Roberts described judges as umpires calling balls and strikes, without regard to who was pitching or hitting. But how impartial would an umpire be if one team could redefine the strike zone to suit their pitcher's or batters' skills? That is one ...

June 27, 2019

Supreme Court rebukes unchecked bureaucracy in Kisor v. Wilkie

Yesterday the Supreme Court rebuked the regulatory state and decided that the federal courts can't give government bureaucrats carte blanche to interpret our laws how they choose. This decision opens the door for other cases to rein in many government agencies’ out-of-control regulatory power. This ruling in Kisor v. Wilkie bolsters Vietnam v ...

April 17, 2019

Why water regulations should only regulate water

Government bureaucracy can often seem designed to fail, even with something as simple as water. This glib reality is on full display with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If a federal law says "don't discharge pollutants in navigable waters," most people would assume it means not to dump harmful chemicals into large bodies of water. ...

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