Oct. 18, 2014: Published in Townhall.com, regular contributor Shannon Goessling, SLF Executive Director and Chief Legal Counsel, discusses recent federal court decisions striking down voter photo ID laws as unconstitutional because obtaining them is "too much burden." Goessling points out that, if the same analysis is applied to other U.S. citizen duties like jury duty, military service, and other civic interactions with our government are in jeopardy, too - after all, those duties require action and cause "burdens" - see inside for more...
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Oct. 16, 2014: The Southeastern Legal Foundation today filed a formal Public Comment in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's latest gambit to crush the American coal industry, the Obama administration's so-called "war on coal," and along with it, more than a million jobs, spikes in energy costs to consumers, and another example of the violation of Congressional intent and separation of powers.
The EPA's Proposed Rule, "Carbon Pollution Standards for Modified and Reconstructed Stationary Sources: Electric Generating Units; Proposed Rule" 79 Fed. Reg. 34959 (June 18, 2014), proposes unilateral restrictions on coal and gas-fired electric generating facilities that are "out of bounds" and "well-beyond what Congress clearly intended in existing law," according to Shannon Goessling, SLF executive director and chief legal counsel. SLF won a decisive Supreme Court victory earlier this year challenging the EPA's "climate change" rules.
The currrent Public Comment period, much like it's "climate change" predecessor, will be the first round in administrative and legal challenges against the enactment of the Proposed Rule. "We are preparing our legal strategy under the assumption that the Obama administration's EPA will go ahead with the Proposed Rule despite the fact that they lost a similar effort in the Supreme Court earlier this year," said Goessling.
October 10, 2014: Southeastern Legal Foundation joins CATO Institute, National Federation of Independent Business, Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, Institute for Justice, and Reason Foundation in filing an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of Marvin and Lena Horne and California raisin growers seeking review of the latest Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals outrage – allowing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to pay nothing for crops mandated to be turned over to them under a New Deal-era law. In 2013, the Supreme Court unanimously rebuffed the government’s attempt against the Hornes and California raisin growers to make property owners sue twice - once in federal district court and once in the Court of Claims – to vindicate property rights. Now, the Hornes are back in court, challenging the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that upheld the government scheme forcing growers to fork over the fruits of their labor with no hope of covering their expenses or, in some cases, any compensation at all. This critical case raises fundamental constitutional issues of just compensation for government “takings” of personal and real property. (Marvin D. Horne, et al. v. United States Department of Agriculture, No. 14-275).
August 6, 2014 - Southeastern Legal Foundation today submitted an amicus curiae brief in the ongoing race-based admissions litigation, Abigail Noel Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. The new amicus brief supports the request for a rehearing en banc by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which earlier this year upheld the race-based admissions program used by the University - despite a clear and decisive decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 striking down the program as unconstitutional and remanding it back to the Fifth Circuit with instructions to review the program using strict scrutiny, which the high court held was not properly applied in the earlier Fifth Circuit decision.
July 6, 2014 - SLF's executive director and chief legal counsel, Shannon Goessling, counters EPA and environmentalist analysis of the long-awaited EPA climate change decision in The Washington Examiner. Rather than the "slight victory" claimed by the EPA and White House, the Supreme Court in June slams the door on regulatory rewriting of existing law without Congressional approval - and ensures that millions of Americans will not be subjected to greenhouse gas emissions permitting by the EPA.
HIGH COURT PUSHES BACK ON EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY – AGAIN:
NLRB RECESS APPOINTMENTS SUPREME COURT DECISION
WASHINGTON, DC/ATLANTA, GA (June 26, 2014): As the U.S. Supreme Court today issued a much-anticipated decision in the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recess appointments challenge against President Obama, Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) praised the narrow decision as “an important push-back in what has turned out to be a series of constitutional push-backs against the expansion of executive authority by the Obama administration.” National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, A Division of the Noel Canning Corp., et al. (No. 12-1281).
SLF submitted an amicus brief in the case in support of Canning, arguing that historical precedent regarding the Recess Appointments Clause and reasonable interpretation of the recess provisions governing when the President may make executive appointments when the Senate is in recess. Canning challenged the three recess appointments made by President Obama to the NLRB as a result of a labor dispute in which Canning was involved as a Pepsi-Cola distributor.
The Supreme Court held that the three-day Senate recess during which Obama made the NLRB appointments was not long enough to trigger the Recess Appointments Clause powers. The Court wrote, “The Clause should be interpreted as granting the President the power to make appointments during a recess but not offering the President the authority routinely to avoid the need for Senate confirmation.”
“President Obama has consistently pursued a path of aggressive executive action through appointments and agency regulations, much like the EPA greenhouse gas case decided by the Court this week, that pushes the envelope beyond the limits established by the Constitution,” said Shannon L. Goessling, SLF executive director and chief legal counsel. “The Canning decision provides another in a sequence of Supreme Court decisions that roll back the expansion of executive authority into unconstitutional territory and serve to reinforce the pillar of separation of powers.”
June 23, 2104 - Supreme Court Says EPA "Overreached, Violated Separation of Powers"
The United States Supreme Court today held that the Obama Administration's Environmental Agency overstepped its authority by rewriting the Clean Air Act to fit its regulatory scheme on greenhouse gas emissions. The Court struck down the agency's broad assertion of power and held that the EPA must have Congressional authorization to rewrite the Clean Air Act. "This is a powerful end to the five-year climate change challenge," said Shannon Goessling, SLF executive director and chief legal counsel.
SUPREME COURT: Legislative Prayer Protected By Court in Town of Greece v. Galloway, et al., May 5, 2014
5/5/2014: Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) today commended the decision by the Supreme Court of the United States in reversing the Second Circuit decision in the Town of Greece, NY v. Galloway, et al. (12-696) case. SLF filed an amicus brief in the case in support of the Town of Greece.
The case turned on whether legislative prayer offered by local clergy who are predominantly Christian violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The majority held that the practice of the Town of Greece has been consistent with the practices of Congress and state legislatures since the founding of the nation, and that the prayers offered need not be strictly nonsectarian in nature because to compel that would put legislatures and the courts in the position of supervising and censoring religious speech, which would involve the government in religious matters to a far greater degree than is the case in the Town’s current practice.
“Today’s Supreme Court decision affirms important long-held constitutional principles protecting religious free speech in the legislative setting,” said Shannon Goessling, SLF executive director and chief legal counsel. “The Court today has properly determined that a court challenge against legislative prayer based only on the prayer’s content will not likely establish a violation of constitutional rights. The healthy balance struck in the Town of Greece provides a good example for government decision-making bodies across America.”
SUPREME COURT: SLF, 10 Organizations File Amicus in Challenge to FCC-Driven Political Censorship, April 18, 2014
Supreme Court amicus brief filed today by Southeastern Legal Foundation and 10 organizations challenging FCC-driven political censorship in a case involving one of the nation's only African-American-owned community-based public TV stations in San Francisco - organizations include Citizens United, Atlantic Legal Foundation, Center for Consitutional Jurisprudence, Reason Foundation, Individual Rights Foundation, Northwest Legal Foundation, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Goldwater Institute, Center for Competitive Politics, and Cause of Action. April 18, 2014 -