Weekly litigation report — July 9, 2016
The big news around PLF this week was, of course, the announcement of our next President and CEO Steven Anderson. We are all very excited to work with him in the near future. In the meantime, PLF attorneys have had another busy week in the nation’s courts.
Chilling free speech by labeling it as “professional conduct”
We filed a brief asking a full panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear our case on behalf of Leslie Young. Leslie Young is an advertising broker who is prohibited from listing homes for sale by owner on a website she runs. The State of Nebraska claims this makes here an unlicensed real estate broker and that she cannot advertise properties in that state. The Eighth Circuit held that there is no First Amendment problem because the state is regulating only “professional conduct,” not speech. For more on this, see our blog post here.
Property rights — Adverse decision on land use decision from Washington State
The Washington Court of Appeals issued this adverse opinion in Kinderace v. City of Sammamish. In Kinderace we argued on appeal that a landowner was entitled to a “reasonable use exception” to use a parcel and the denial of that exception was a taking. The City argues that because the owner was able to use a related subdivided parcel, created with a boundary line adjustment, there was no taking.
Economic liberty — Short-term rental ban
PLF filed an amicus brief supporting the rights of a Nashville family to rent and advertise their home. A Nashville ordinance limits the number of non-owner-occupied properties used for short-term rentals to only three percent of properties within a census tract, and completely prohibits any type of advertising of short-term rentals on-site. PLF argues that both of these bans violate the Andersons’ rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
Property rights — Eminent domain
The infamous Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. City of New London, held that the United States Constitution does not prohibit government taking private property through eminent domain for the purpose of economic development. In response to Kelo, many states enacted laws and state constitutional reforms restricting the use of eminent domain under state law. Now before the Louisiana Supreme Court is a case asking whether the Louisiana Constitution forbids the taking of private property through eminent domain for the purpose of economic development. PLF’s brief argues that the Louisiana’ Constitution’s “Public Purpose Clause” should be construed narrowly, and should forbid the use of eminent domain for economic development.
What to read next
Shed a (crocodile) tear for Luke Skywalker today, as Mark Hamill’s much ballyhooed Autograph Law is set to be undone and reformed by the same California officials who made the mistake to pass it in the first place. AB 228 has arrived at the Governor’s desk, and in all likelihood will be signed into law any day.
Our new flagship publication, Sword&Scales, offers 16 pages of news and information to bring you up close to the vital work of our legal team. Our ardent defense of the right to own and use private property takes center stage in the inaugural issue. It’s at the core of our mission in the nation’s courts.
On Thursday, in Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky, PLF filed this reply brief in support of its cert petition to the Supreme Court of the United States. In this case, we’re representing Minnesota voters in a First Amendment challenge to a ban on political apparel at polling places.
The Daily Journal published my column on California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland, recently decided by the California Supreme Court. As the op-ed points out, the ruling undermines Proposition 218’s requirements that all new taxes at the local level need voter approval.