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Supreme Court Victory: Federal Tort Claims Act Equitable Tolling Survives, April 22, 2015

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," said Shannon L. Goessling, SLF executive director and chief legal counsel.  "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.

Click here for SLF amicus brief in this case


Federal Lawsuit Moves Forward in Voter Case Involving NRA Instructor Hat

Bundy Cobb v. Douglas County, State of Georgia, et al., Civil Action File No. 1:14-cv-03898-CAP

April 16, 2015

Statement by Shannon L. Goessling, executive director and chief legal counsel, Southeastern Legal Foundation:

“Today’s decisions by U.S. District Court Judge Pannell allow Mr. Cobb to amend his complaint in light of new information and facts since the original filing, which results in a dismissal of the defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings as moot.  The defendants will be able to re-file the same motion within 21 days as it relates to the amended complaint if they choose.

We applaud the decision to move this case forward, given the serious constitutional implications of the government's actions – enforcement by a government poll worker of a custom, policy, or practice instituted by the County Elections Supervisor that prevents Douglas County, Georgia voters from voting unless they remove hats or items of clothing that have the NRA logo on them.”

Click here for U.S. District Court order, April 15, 2015



March 16, 2015:  So-called "classroom diversity" at the University of Texas at Austin comes under fire - again - as Abigail Fisher challenges the failed policies for school admissions and the school's disregard for the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, which mandated that the university must try race-neutral alternatives in place of race-based admissions.  SLF files an amicus brief in support of Fisher, as it did in 2012, arguing that UT-Austin did not prove race-based program was necessary and narrowly tailored to meet diversity goals after the 2013 Supreme Court decision.  Fisher v. UT-Austin, et al.

Click here for SLF Brief in Fisher Appeal to Supreme Court


Supreme Court Agrees to Hear "Raisins" Property Rights Case - SLF Files Amicus Brief on Merits, March 9, 2015

March 9, 2015:    The U.S. Supreme Court  has decided to hear the merits and arguments of the now-famous “raisins” case, as 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 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.  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.

Click here for copy of Supreme Court brief as filed


Texas Voter Case to U.S. Supreme Court - SLF Files Brief

March 6, 2015:  Southeastern Legal Foundation today filed an amicus curiae brief in the Supreme Court of the United States in a Texas case challenging alleged voter dilution in the drawing of Texas Senate districts that ostensibly complied with sections of the Voting Rights Act but are, as SLF argues, a violation of Fourteenth Amendment based on the fact that Texas "equalized" voting districts based on overall population and not on voter-eligible population.  Evenwel, et al. v. Abbott, et al., No. 14-940.

Click here for Southeastern Legal Foundation Supreme Court brief


U.S. Supreme Court Overturns "Criminal" Conviction - Administration's Overreach Turned Back, Feb. 25, 2015

Yates v. United States, No. 13-7451

“Anti-Shredding” Financial Fraud Enforcement Against Commercial Fisherman Overturned

Feb. 25, 2015 - Washington, DC/Atlanta:       Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) today applauded the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn the conviction of a commercial fisherman who was charged with a felony under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act’s “anti-shredding” financial fraud provision for tossing undersized fish overboard, which SLF argued in an amicus brief in the case at the merit stage was another glaring example of “overcriminalization” and demonstrated overreaching executive authority.

“The U.S. Supreme Court today struck a blow for common sense and limited government when it overturned the conviction of a commercial fisherman who tossed small fish overboard and was subsequently charged under a felony law designed to protect investors from financial fraud,” said Shannon L. Goessling, Southeastern Legal Foundation executive director and chief legal counsel.  “This is an important decision because the Court has once again pulled back  overzealous and overreaching executive power – including the so-called ‘overcriminalization’ phenomena we’ve witnesses over the past several years – consistently displayed during the Obama administration.”

The Supreme Court summarized the facts of the case as follows:

"While conducting an offshore inspection of a commercial fishing vessel in the Gulf of Mexico, a federal agent found that the ship’s catch con­tained undersized red grouper, in violation of federal conservation regulations. The officer instructed the ship’s captain, petitioner Yates, to keep the undersized fish segregated from the rest of the catch until the ship returned to port. After the officer departed, Yates instead told a crew member to throw the undersized fish over­board. For this offense, Yates was charged with destroying, conceal­ing, and covering up undersized fish to impede a federal investiga­tion, in violation of 18 U. S. C. §1519. That section provides that a person may be fined or imprisoned for up to 20 years if he “knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence” a federal investigation.”

Yates was convicted in a federal district court of violating Section 1519, a decision that was upheld at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.  The Supreme Court overturned the decision.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the majority, held that, “Section 1519 was enacted as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, 116 Stat. 745, legislation designed to protect investors and restore trust in financial markets following the collapse of Enron Corporation. A fish is no doubt an object that is tangible; fish can be seen, caught, and handled, and a catch, as this case illustrates, is vulnerable to destruction. But it would cut §1519 loose from its financial-fraud mooring to hold that it encompasses any and all objects, whatever their size or significance, de­stroyed with obstructive intent. Mindful that in Sarbanes-Oxley, Congress trained its attention on corporate and accounting deception and cover-ups, we conclude that a matching construction of §1519 is in order: A tangible object captured by §1519, we hold, must be one used to record or preserve information.”

Click here for U.S. Supreme Court decision

Click here for SLF amicus brief at merit stage


SLF Files Federal Lawsuit Against EPA - Stall, Deny, Redact Documents under FOIA, Feb. 10, 2015

ATLANTA, Feb. 10, 2015:  Southeastern Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta) challenging its failure to produce documents, deny access to documents, and redaction of documents - 96 percent of more than 3,000 pages produced by EPA were redacted - under the Freedom of Information Act.  Click here for the complete statement and complaint.


SLF Back in U.S. Court of Appeals on EPA Air Quality Final Order

Brief - U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia - SLF filed amicus brief with Intervenor San Miguel Electric Cooperative, Inc. on Petition for Review of Final Order of the U.S. EPA, challenging the EPA's arbitrary and capricious Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) as a threat to the integrity of the U.S. power grid, 12-14-14 Download Here



As posted at, SLF's Shannon Goessling details the background behind the constitutional violations when elections officials in Douglas County, Georgia threatened a voter wearing an NRA Instructor hat:  "No hat, or no vote."

Click here for op-ed article



ATLANTA, GA/Dec. 8, 2014:  Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) today filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, challenging the unconstitutional actions of Douglas County, GA elections officials who denied Douglasville resident Bundy Cobb the right to vote unless he removed his National Rifle Association (NRA) Instructor hat.  Cobb, who was voting early in the general election, was told his hat was forbidden as illegal "electioneering" - his choice:  Remove the hat to vote, or face potential arrest, imprisonment, and a fine.  Bundy is seeking declaratory and injunctive relief "to ensure that this doesn't happen again to anyone."  See complete media statement and court filing below.

Click here for media statement

Click here for Complaint as filed in U.S. District Court (Bundy v. Douglas County, et al)