July 23, 2016

Weekly litigation report — July 23, 2016

By Joshua P. Thompson Senior Attorney

The fight for Edmund Lee goes to the appellate court

This week PLF filed its notice of appeal in E.L. v. Interdistrict Choice Corporation.  Last Friday, the district court dismissed Edmund’s case, holding that he lacked standing to bring his claim, and that the race-based transfer program is immune from challenge in federal court. As Edmund’s mother, La’Shieka White, explains in this interview with ABC in St. Louis, she and PLF are prepared to take this case to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Sea otter briefing complete

PLF filed its reply brief in Cal. Sea Urchin Comm’n v. USFWSThis case challenges the Fish and Wildlife Service’s denial of petition asking it to follow the deal it struck with Congress to protect the fishing industry in southern California. The law requires the Service to use feasible, nonlethal means to remove otters that wandered into the surrounding fishery and exempt fishermen and others from prosecution for incidental take. By unilaterally eliminating the protections for the fishing industry, the Service is violating the law and upsetting the careful balance struck by Congress to protect industry and sea otters alike.

Complaint filed challenging sign ban

PLF filed its complaint this week in Goodwin v. Walton County. Walton County, Florida, has passed a law prohibiting all signs on public or private beaches.  PLF represents beachfront homeowners Edward and DeLanie Goodwin in challenging the sign ban as a violation of their constitutionally protected free speech rights.  To safeguard their privacy, personal security, and property rights, they put up two small “Private Property” signs, and a third small sign that says, “If the County Wants My Private Beach for Public Use, It Must Pay Me For It — US Constitution.” The sign ban effectively prohibits the Goodwins from exercising their First Amendment right to convey an essential message — i.e., to tell the public, and the county itself, that their property is private.

Brief filed in Oregon mining case

PLF filed its amicus brief in Bohmker v. Oregon, a case challenging Oregon’s ban on suction dredge mining. Federal law encourages the discovery and extraction of mineral resources on federal land. By banning suction dredge mining, Oregon has criminalized the only profitable means of mining federal steambed claims in the state. PLF’s brief argues that this ban violates federal law.

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Bohmker v. Oregon

Oregon decided to outlaw “suction dredging,” the only profitable method of mining gold from streambed deposits. Suction dredging uses a small, lawn mower-sized motor and an underwater vacuum hose to suck up and filter gold out of streambed sediment. The federal Mining Act, however, encourages free and open exploration for valuable minerals on federal lands. The Constitution’s Supremacy Clause means that when the federal government authorizes you to do something, a state can’t prohibit you from doing it. Miners challenged the Oregon law as preempted by the federal Mining Act, which reigns supreme under our Constitution.

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