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Wednesday
Mar222017

Children's Crusade Climate Change Lawsuit "Most Dangerous Litigation in America," Newsmax, March 22, 2017

SLF's Todd Young unmasks the constitutional dangers involved in a current Ninth Circuit climate change lawsuit filed by 21 children and young adults, represented by ultra-left Our Children's Trust - as published in Newsmax, March 22, 2017

Click here for the article

Wednesday
Mar152017

DAILY BEAST MISSES THE MARK: Gov. Perdue and 2,200 companies represented in SLF's WOTUS challenge, March 15, 2017

SLF STATEMENT ON GOV. SONNY PERDUE AND WOTUS LITIGATION

March 15, 2017

 

Todd G. Young

Executive Director

“Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) represents a coalition of plaintiffs challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers for its broadly overreaching “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) Rule – a Rule that has been challenged by dozens of states, industry groups, professional and trade associations, and companies as an unprecedented executive overreach well beyond the limits of the Clean Water Act.  Southeastern Legal Foundation, et al. v. EPA, et al.

SLF’s coalition of plaintiffs includes AGrowStar; the Georgia Agribusiness Council, which represents more than 1,000 agribusiness member companies; and Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association, which represents 1,200 builder companies.  U.S. Secretary of Agriculture-nominee, former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, has served on the Georgia Agribusiness Council Board and is a beneficiary of trusts which own AGrowStar’s parent company.  The WOTUS litigation timeline is important:  the plaintiffs filed suit in U.S. District Court in the Northern and Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 13, 2015, and AGrowStar joined in the suit on September 30, 2015.

Contrary to assertions by The Daily Beast (“Trump Signs Rule Making His Agriculture Nominee Rich,” March 14, 2017), it bends credulity and utterly mischaracterizes the facts of the litigation to suggest that Gov. Perdue, by and through AGrowStar, joined the WOTUS litigation in order to gain financial benefit, particularly because the litigation began in 2015.  In order to have standing to sue, plaintiffs must show that they have been or will be harmed by the WOTUS Rule.  AGrowStar, along with the other plaintiffs, have standing to sue precisely because they are able to show harm by the WOTUS Rule.  AGrowStar is certainly not unique nor alone in this challenge - more than 2,200 companies are represented by SLF in this litigation.  The plaintiffs have demonstrated courage to challenge the full might of the EPA on behalf of millions of Americans who are directly and negatively affected by the overreaching and arguably unconstitutional WOTUS Rule.

The current posture of the case is that the WOTUS Rule has been stayed by the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, where the cases have been consolidated.  The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on jurisdiction questions in the WOTUS litigation, and SLF is preparing arguments for that hearing, which is expected this Fall.  Based on President Trump’s Feb. 28, 2017 Executive Order, the EPA and Army Corps have been directed to review the WOTUS Rule based on Supreme Court precedent and the letter of law under the Clean Water Act and to begin the process of recommending a modified Rule for administrative review.”

Founded in 1976, SLF is a national constitutional public interest law firm that appears regularly before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Landmark Supreme Court victories include the 2014 Utility Air Regulatory Group, et al. v. EPA, 134 S. Ct. 2427 (2014), the so-called “climate change” case, which struck down the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations as unconstitutional executive overreach beyond the Clean Air Act and without Congressional approval.

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Click here for full statement on WOTUS litigation, Gov. Sonny Perdue, March 15, 2017

Tuesday
Mar142017

Profitable Private Property in Jeopardy: Government Taking in Louisiana, March 13, 2017

Atlanta, GA/Louisiana (March 14, 2017):  Southeastern Legal Foundation, along with National Federation of Small Business Legal Center, filed an amicus brief supporting a private company fighting to keep the industrial port facility that its owners spent decades building and growing into a successful business from government takeover and expropriation.  Violet Dock Port’s owners started with just a 1-mile of waterfront property.  Continuous reinvestment and hard work grew the port facility into a 75-acre port that includes five industrial docks, at least two of which are used by the U.S. Navy to keep two ships docket and ready for takeoff at a moment’s notice.

St. Bernard Parish recognized how profitable the privately-owned port facility had become and wanting those profits and government contracts for itself, took the 75 acres.  It was able to do so because under Louisiana law, a government can take property by simply depositing what it believes is “just compensation” in an account with the court and filing a petition to expropriate. The court will then hold a trial on the taking and compensation.  The backwards procedure provides the state and local governments with vast power. 

Violet Dock Port fought the unconstitutional takings, but to no avail.  The trial court and court of appeals ignored the strong evidence in the record supporting the company’s argument that the government took the property solely to limit competition and takeover not only the land, but the business – clients, contracts, and all.  In its amicus brief, Southeastern Legal Foundation urges the Louisiana Supreme Court grant Violet Dock Port’s request to hear the case and return the property – land and company – back to Violet Dock Port.

Click here for SLF amicus brief, March 14, 2017

Wednesday
Mar012017

DECONSTRUCTING THE ADMINISTRATIVE STATE, TRUMP-STYLE, Newsmax, March 1, 2017

The latest Newsmax article by SLF's Todd Young outlining the importance of, and actual orders by, President Trump's 30-day efforts to start the process of rolling back the permanent bureaucracy - "deconstructing the administrative state" -

Click here for Newsmax article, March 1, 2017

Monday
Feb272017

CALIFORNIA STOPS LEGAL LAND USE ON FEDERAL LAND: SLF Files U.S. Supreme Court Brief in Support of Miner, Constitutional Rights, Feb. 27, 2017

ATLANTA, GA/WASHINGTON, DC (Feb. 27, 2017):  Southeastern Legal Foundation filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court urging the court to take the case of Rinehart v. California and stop overzealous states from violating the Constitution and our country’s core principles of federalism.

As the Trump administration seeks to lift burdensome regulations, left-leaning states are digging in their heels for a fight.  Yet even before President Trump took office, California asserted excessive control over federal lands within its borders when prosecutors convicted gold miner Brandon Rinehart of misdemeanors for mining his federally recognized mining claims on federal land in California.  His offense?  Use of a suction dredge, a small-scale, commonplace mining tool used to mine gold in rivers and streams. 

As SLF points out in its amicus brief, the General Mining Law of 1872, a federal law which states that mining for valuable minerals on federal land is an allowed and even encouraged activity, preempts any contradictory state laws.  Not only is federal preemption a critical issue to the system of federalism set in place by the Founders, but it also allows the federal government to operate freely within its limited areas of control.  Even though our Constitution leaves most powers to the states, Mr. Rinehart’s case is an opportunity for the Court to stop rogue states from circumventing valid federal laws in areas over which the federal government has clear authority and control. 

Click here for U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief, Rinehart v. California, Feb. 27, 2017

Friday
Feb102017

Milo Yiannopoulus and the College Rioters: Time to Challenge College Campus 'Coerced Silence' - Feb. 10, 2017

The Founding Fathers and firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos share the most important trait - embrace of protected First Amendment free speech as a means to keep power accountable - Newsmax brings this important piece today, and SLF is preparing a broad strategy to break the 'coerced silence' on America's college campuses - click HERE for link to Newsmax story.

Friday
Feb032017

SLF FILES FOIA SUIT AGAINST HUD: What Are They Hiding from Obama Era? Jan. 31, 2017

NASHVILLE, TN/ATLANTA, GA (Jan. 31, 2017):  Southeastern Legal Foundation filed suit against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia for its failure to even acknowledge receipt of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request SLF submitted in November 2016.  SLF is seeking records related to known communications between HUD and the City of Nashville regarding the City’s newly enacted, so-called “affordable housing” mandate and Tennessee’s state law banning such mandates for rental properties.  HUD has been active across the U.S. in encouraging cities and counties to force property owners to pay for affordable housing as a condition of permitting them to build on their own property, a practice that SLF believes is patently unconstitutional.  What is HUD hiding?  Once we get the public records, we will let you know.

Click here for the FOIA complaint filed against HUD, Jan. 31, 2017

Thursday
Jan192017

Declaring Independence from Imperial Obama Presidency, Newsmax, Jan. 19, 2017

As appears in Newsmax, Jan. 19, 2017:  SLF's Todd Young compares Obama-era overreaches with the Declaration of Independence and its eternal "list of grievances" -

Click here for article, Jan. 19, 2017

Tuesday
Jan032017

We're the Federal Government, and We're Here to . . . Hack?! Newsmax, Dec. 31, 2016

Dec. 31, 2016:  Newsmax today published an important article by Southeastern Legal Foundation about the alleged hacking attempts made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) into the protected Georgia state voter database - all attempts made around the time of elections in 2016.  In the context of alleged Russian hacking into private servers at the DNC and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, there should be calls for investigation into why DHS made multiple attempts to hack into the public and protected voter database in Georgia.

Click here for the Newsmax op-ed article by SLF, Dec. 31, 2016

Friday
Dec302016

Trails Act Federal Excuse to Grab Private Property - SLF Joins in Federal Appeals Brief, Dec. 29, 2016

ATLANTA/WASHINGTON, DC (Dec. 29, 2016):  Southeastern Legal Foundation joined with the Property Rights Foundation of America in submitting an amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit supporting private property owners’ right to just compensation in a case involving the Iowa property now claimed by the federal government under the Trails Act.  Caquelin, et al v. United States, 2016-1663.

The Constitution requires the government to compensate property owners when it takes property.  This includes land taken under the Trails Act, which authorizes a national system of trails largely used for outdoor recreational purposes.  For decades, the government has tried to shortchange property owners by offering them insulting sums for their property – sums that courts frequently shutdown as anything but “just compensation.” 

Seemingly frustrated after another loss, the government is now asking the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to review a Trails Act case and overturn its prior decisions and instead find that Trails Act takings are only temporary regulatory takings, not physical takings, where the recreational trail has not yet been constructed.  In other words, it wants to take private property and pay the owners nothing until it decides it wants to use the property.  Fortunately for property owners, that is not what our Founders had in mind when they drafted the Takings Clause.  Earlier this week, SLF filed an amicus brief supporting property owners’ rights to just compensation – regardless of whether the government takes the property pursuant to Trails Act or other means. 

Click here for SLF/PRFA amicus, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Dec. 29, 2016