WASHINGTON, DC/ATLANTA, GA/Nov. 18, 2015: Southeastern Legal Foundation today joined with a group of Emory University law students in challenging Connecticut's regulatory scheme that bans non-dental entities from providing teeth whitening services - despite an all-clear from the FDA. Similar regulations across the U.S. - and a growing trend in developing these "regulatory cartels" by govenrment entities - are causing real damage to enterpreneurial businesses across the nation. SLF is asking the U.S. SUpreme Court in an amicus brief to re-examine the "rational basis" test used to justify regulations. Sensational Smiles, LLC v. Mullen, et al., No. 15-507.
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As published on TownHall.com, SLF brings to light actual civil rights violations on U.S. college campuses against Jews and Christians, contrasting with hurt feelings spurring high-profile protests at several universities - and pointing out that the law is there to protect, even in the face of trendy policy.
Click Here for TownHall.com Op-Ed by SLF Nov. 16, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC/Oct. 16, 2015: Southeastern Legal Foundation today filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the unconstitutional mandate by the City of San Jose, California requiring builders to sell 15% of their housing developments below market value or face stiff fines and denial of permits - the same law requires homeowners who purchase the below-market housing to sell at below-market prices, too. The City of Nashville, Tennessee and a host of other cities are following suit. California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose, et al., No. 15-330.
The city's policy is an unconstitutional "takings," placing the entire burden of the cost on the property owners rather than the "just compensation" required under the Constitution. "The bottom line is that, if society in the form of government decides that a social policy is a good thing, then the government should pay for it - not place the burden on the property owner," said Kim Hermann, SLF Deputy Counsel who co-authored the brief with John J. "Jack" Park, former assistant Attorney General in Alabama and of counsel with Atlanta law firm Strickland, Brockington & Lewis, and Linda Carver Whitlow Knight at the Nashville, TN-based Gullett Sanford Robinson & Martin law firm.
SLF is joined by SLF is joined by a former member of the Metropolitan Nashville Council, a number of highly experienced real estate professionals, including REALTORS®, developers, builders, and mortgage bankers, as well as an additional non-profit, public interest entity. Two members of SLF's Board of Trustees are among the clients represented.
"In addition to flying in the face of Supreme Court case law precedent, the city's policy of mandating affordable housing in this way doesn't work, as we point out with analysis in our brief - it's ineffective and fails to meet the affordable housing need," Hermann added. The U.S. Supreme Court will consider the appeal this term.
California Building Industry Assn. v. City of San Jose, et al. - pdf version of amicus brief filed Oct. 16, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC./Sept. 10, 2015: Southeastern Legal Foundation continues its support for college student Abigail Fisher and her fight for college admissions equality. The U.S. Supreme Court will once again hear oral argument in her challenge to the University of Texas at Austin’s unconstitutional admissions policy that expressly considers race, despite the Supreme Court’s mandate that the university first consider race-based alternatives. SLF has filed supporting amicus briefs at each stage of this important case. Abigail Noel Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, et al., No. 14-981.
On this case’s first trip up to the Supreme Court, the university argued it needed to consider applicants’ race when reviewing applications because it needed to create “classroom diversity” and reduce diversity disparities. When the Supreme Court rejected the university’s arguments and sent the case back to the Fifth Circuit, the university came up with its new justification – “qualitative diversity.” The university now claims that minorities from minority-majority schools do not provide the “right” kind of diversity and that it must consider race to ensure it admits minorities with certain qualities – or, put another way, the university wants more minorities from majority white high schools.
The case is now on its second trip to the Supreme Court, because the Fifth Circuit accepted the university’s post hoc reasoning and in doing so, directly violated the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence and remand instructions.
WASHINGTON, DC/Sept. 2, 2015 - Southeastern Legal Foundation joins Pacific Legal Foundation, Goldwater Institute, Mountain States Legal Foundation, Atlantic Legal Foundation and Missouri Forward Foundation in filing an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of Center for Competitive Politics, all non-profit organizations and their donors in defense of their First Amendment rights. Center for Competitive Politics v. Harris, No. 15-152.
Confidentiality has long been the lifeblood of many non-profit organizations. In 1958, the Supreme Court declared that privacy in group association is indispensable to preserving the freedom of association, arising from incidents of intimidation against financial supporters of the NAACP and other civil rights organizations during the segregation era.
Ignoring the Supreme Court’s long-standing precedent and the First Amendment, California’s Attorney General is now attempting to require certain non-profit organizations to disclose their donor lists or risk not being permitted to solicit charitable contributions in California. Such disclosure would chill the speech and free association of the organizations and their donors. Amici submit their brief in defense of privacy, both as a private interest essential to their work and as one of the constitutional freedoms they are pledged to protect.
July 7, 2015: The Southeastern Legal Foundation today announced that it has reached a settlement in the federal court case involving Douglas County, Georgia voter Bundy Cobb, who was wearing his NRA Instructor hat when voting in the 2014 general elections, and was ordered to remove his hat or he would be refused a ballot. See details below - how the Georgia Attorney General issued a powerful Opinion in defense of Mr. Cobb's constitutional interpretation of the Georgia electioneering law, how the County Board of Elections and Registration changed its policy giving elections officers and poll workers wide discretion that resulted in this error, and how the same government agency formally apologized to Mr. Cobb for the violations of his rights when he attempted to vote.
June 22, 2015: The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled in favor of raisin growers, holding that crops turned over to the government in a New Deal-era scheme to keep prices artificially high is a violation of constitutional property rights and entitles the growers to "just compensation" for the crops turned over to the government. Horne, et al. v. Department of Agriculture, No. 14-275.
Southeastern Legal Foundation joined CATO Institute, National Federation of Independent Business, Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, Institute for Justice, and Reason Foundation in filing an amicus curiae brief on the merits to the Supreme Court Marvin and Lena Horne and California raisin growers seeking review of the 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.
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court held that the scheme forcing growers to turn over the fruits of their labor with no hope of recovering expenses or, in some cases, any compensation at all, is unconstitutional.
This is a major blow to the government's program of boosting prices by keeping crops off the market, and a major victory for agriculture in America. The high court has determined that government market-fixing through mandates to turn over crops grown is a denial of fundamental property rights entitling the growers to just compensation.
SLF submitted its amicus brief in this case on March 9, 2015 (see this website for more details).
June 1, 2015: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia today ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to file a response within 15 days to the Petition filed last week by Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) and various parties for Rehearing En Banc seeking reconsideration of the court’s decision on remand from the 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision holding that the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules were “defective.” Utility Air Regulatory Group, et al. v. EPA, 134 S.Ct. 2427 (2014).
The Court of Appeals ordered, “Upon consideration of petitioners’ petition for rehearing en banc filed in the above-captioned cases, it is ORDERED, on the court’s own motion, that, within 15 days of the date of this order, respondent EPA file a response to the petition for rehearing en banc, not to exceed 15 pages. Absent further order of the court, the court will not accept a reply to the response.” Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Inc. et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency, Nos. 09-1322, 10-1073, 10-1092.
Today’s order mirrors a similar order in the greenhouse gas case ruled on last year by the Supreme Court – that the EPA should respond to ensure the Court of Appeals has a complete record to consider. SLF represents nearly two dozen companies and associations and a dozen members of Congress.
SLF Files Petition for Rehearing on Supreme Court Remand: EPA Greenhouse Gas Rules "Defective" May 27, 2015
May 27, 2015: Southeastern Legal Foundation today filed a Petition for Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia seeking reconsideration of its decision following the U.S. Supreme Court blockbuster decision holding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) greenhouse gas rules were defective for substantive reasons. Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Inc., et al. v. EPA, Nos. 09-1322, 10-1073, 10-1092.
The U.S. Supreme Court decision is Utility Air Regulatory Group, et al. v. EPA, 134 S.Ct. 2427 (2014).
On remand from the Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia later remanded the greenhouse gas rules back to EPA without vacating the rules, instructing EPA to “consider whether any further revisions to its regulations are appropriate in light of [the Supreme Court decision].”
The Coalition for Responsible Regulation, Inc., Southeastern Legal Foundation, Landmark Legal Foundation, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute joined in the petition.
The Supreme Court’s 2014 decision on EPA’s greenhouse gas rules is clear – the rules are substantively defective under the Clean Air Act. SLF represents nearly two dozen plaintiff companies and organizations challenging the EPA’s so-called “climate change” rules.
The exceptional importance of the EPA’s rules and the strong decision by the Supreme Court in this matter require more than permission from the Court to EPA to change the rules if it sees fit. The amended judgment also runs counter to case precedent in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that requires that remanded cases secure and maintain uniformity with the Supreme Court decisions. That clearly has not happened here.
April 22, 2015: In a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court today upheld "equitable tolling" of the 2-year statute of limitations requiring claims to be brought before a government agency for administrative review. United States v. Wong, No. 13-1074, United States v. June, No. 13-1075.
The decision affirms the common sense rule that will prevent plaintiffs rushing to present undeveloped and in many cases baseless administrative claims. By affirming equitable tolling, the decision puts the government in the same position as similarly situated private defendants and helps to make the administrative and judicial review process more predictable for all parties, which is a win-win for those concerned with challenging alleged government overreach.
Southeastern Legal Foundation filed an amicus brief in support of a private plaintiff who had failed to file her complaint within the two-year limitation, claiming that key facts supporting her case were concealed by the government in a tragedy involving the death of a minor in a car accident and the subsequent investigation into the crashworthiness of a median barrier. If the two-year statute of limitations had not been affirmed as equitably tolled to allow her to obtain the necessary information, her challenge would not have been fully developed factually to enable the case to move forward.