November 13, 2013
A monthly summary of how your charitable support of Pacific Legal Foundation is protecting our Constitution.
Round two in challenge to Obamacare
PLF Continues the Fight to Stop Obamacare in the Courts
We’ve just filed our opening brief in PLF’s ongoing battle to declare the penalty tax in Obamacare’s individual mandate unconstitutional. After a loss in the federal trial court before an Obama-appointed judge, PLF attorneys are litigating in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to declare the new law a violation of the Constitution’s Origination Clause — the law’s $500 billion in new taxes were concocted in the Senate, not in the House, as required in the Constitution.
“As we point out in our brief to the appellate court, this violation is so blatant that it can’t be given a pass if the Origination Clause is to have any integrity,” said PLF Principal Attorney Paul J. Beard.
A Flood of Extortionate Fees?
PLF attorneys have filed a petition in the California Supreme Court to challenge a very ominous lower court decision that could begin a new flood of extortionate development fees imposed on property owners throughout California. The California Building Industry Association sued the City of San Jose after it passed an ordinance that requires builders of new homes to give 15% of them to the City, to be sold at government-fixed (i.e. below market) prices to qualified, low-income residents. In the alternative, builders can pay the City $122,000 per “affordable” unit. Listen to our PLF podcast on the case, CBIA v. City of San Jose.
Thirst for Power
Federal officials are pushing a new rule to vastly expand their power over water and land under the Clean Water Act. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, relying on EPA’s new report on “connectivity” that is still in draft form and under review, aim to regulate isolated water bodies that have no significant effects on navigable waters.
This plan is an apparent conflict with PLF’s 2006 victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in Rapanos v. United States. In an October 31 PLF news release, PLF Principal Attorney M. Reed Hopper warned federal regulators of pursuing this expansion of power.
“We seem to be witnessing a push to stretch federal power so broadly that it could potentially cover every pond, puddle, and pothole in the country,” Hopper said. “Federal regulators should be warned that if their new water rule veers away from statutory and constitutional principles, they risk sailing into a lawsuit.”
Lending a Hand
PLF attorneys have filed an amicus brief in support of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s challenge in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. At issue is the U.S. Department of the Interior’s decision to deny a request to renew the company’s lease to continue harvesting shellfish in the federally owned Drake’s Estero, north of San Francisco.
Our brief, described in a PLF news release, argues that federal officials should be forced to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act, and undertake a full NEPA analysis of environmental impacts, before being allowed to shut down Drakes Bay Oyster Company. The business employs 30 people and supplies 40 percent of all oysters harvested in California.
In other PLF News...
PLF’s efforts in the court of public opinion include placement of two recent op-eds in major newspapers:
Read our op-ed in the Tampa Tribune about a new property rights case in Florida that tests our 2013 victory at the U.S. Supreme Court (Koontz) that said government cannot treat property owners as ATM machines in the land use permitting process.
All this year PLF has devoted resources to examine the federal Endangered Species Act, which turns 40-years-old in December. Read our op-ed on the green sturgeon that appeared in the Washington Times.
For the fourth consecutive year, PLF has been named a Tier 1 Best Law Firm 2014 by U.S. News and World Report. The honor is a recognition of PLF’s successful work in the area of property rights protections, but also our donors who make it possible for us to haul government regulators into the nation’s courtrooms.
Thanks for standing up for PLF, our clients, and the Constitution! PLEASE DONATE GENEROUSLY so PLF can keep "Rescuing Liberty" for this generation - and those to come!
Rob Rivett, President
Pacific Legal Foundation