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Obama's so-called "Clean Power Plan" halted by Supreme Court, Feb. 10, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC:  The U.S. Supreme Court today dealt a significant initial blow against President Obama's so-called "Clean Power Plan" by staying the Plan's implementation until oral arguments before the high court on June 2 this year.

Since the Court's 2014 decision slapping down the Environmental Protection Agency's greenhouse gas regulations as "executive overreach" and a violation of constitutional separation of powers, in which SLF represented 14 members of Congress and multiple professional associations and companies, "the tendency has been for the federal courts to halt President Obama's regulations in order to figure out whether Congress has had a chance to review and approve them," said Todd Young, SLF chief operating officer.  "In this case, as in most recent cases, Congress was left out of the constitutional equation and the Executive branch simply gave itself authority to change the law."

SLF will be participating as a friend of the court in the Clean Power Plan arguments before the Supreme Court.  SLF is also currently challenging the EPA's controversial "Waters of the United States" regulations that have likewise been stayed by the Sixth Circuit federal appellate court.



VIDEO: SLF reviews Supreme Court arguments in Alaska case challenging regulatory overreach, Jan. 26, 2016

NATIONAL, Jan. 26, 2016:  SLF's Senior Counsel Kim Hermann appears on Claremont Institute's Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence video panel to discuss Sturgeon v. Frost, a case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court last week which challenges the National Park Service's claim of enforcement jurisdiction over private property in Alaska.  SLF participated in the case as a friend of the court, pointing to clear language in federal law prohibiting such enforcement by NPS.

Click here for CCJ Video


U.S. State Dept. Hiring Policy - Limiting Hires Based on Race, Supreme Court Appeal, Jan. 8, 2016

ATLANTA, GA/WASHINGTON, DC (Jan. 8, 2016):  Can the U.S. State Department pick job applicants based on race - a policy declared unconstitutional by many courts including the U.S. Supreme Court?  SLF says absolutely not.

Southeastern Legal Foundation today filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court supporting William Shea, who is challenging the State Department’s affirmative action program that effectively prohibits white applicants from starting at mid-level positions, even if they are qualified for the job. William E. Shea v. John Kerry, No. 15-742.

After 13 years of fighting in the lower courts, Shea is now petitioning the Supreme Court to hear his case.  The case raises important questions of federal law including application of current Supreme Court precedent, expansion of statutory remedies, and the resulting expansion of affirmative action programs that would result if the lower court’s opinion is allowed to stand.  SLF is joined by the Center for Equal Opportunity, CATO Institute, and the National Association of Scholars.  SLF Senior Counsel Kim Hermann is joined by John J. "Jack" Park, Jr., former Alabama Assistant Attorney General and of counsel at Atlanta-based Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP.

"The U.S. Supreme Court has severely limited government agencies from using race-based quota programs for hiring, declaring such efforts unconstitutional," said Hermann.  "This case provides the opportunity to raise those important precedents against a State Department hiring policy that creates unfair and arguably unconstitutional limits against job applicants based on their race - a practice that was unconstitutional four decades ago, and is just as unconstitutional in reverse today."

Click here for SLF's amicus brief in Shea v. Kerry, No. 15-742 Jan. 8, 2016


No Non-Profit Spying/Reporting on Donors! IRS Backs Down from Proposed Rule, Jan. 8, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC/ATLANTA, GA:  The Internal Revenue Service today agreed to withdraw its controversial proposed rule calling on non-profit organizations to collect Social Security numbers and other information from donors, who have previously been protected against public exposure and inquiry.  The outcry from the non-profit world, including SLF - which filed a Formal Comment opposing the measure during the administrative review process by the Treasury Department late last year - was overwhelming and pointed to potential legal and constitutional issues raised by the new inquiry mandates.  "The IRS, which continues to answer tough questions about its handling of applications from center-right organizations seeking IRS approval, made a prudent move to withdraw the new rule for personal data collection on donors to non-profit groups," said Todd Young, SLF COO.  "Let's hope and trust this is a permanent withdrawal and not a temporary hold until a new plan to gather data by force of law is designed."

Click here for SLF Formal Comment on Proposed IRS Rule Jan. 8, 2016


Stop Regulating Private Land: Supreme Court to Consider Alaska Case, Nov. 30, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC/ATLANTA, GA (Nov. 30, 2015):  Southeastern Legal Foundation today filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the unconstitutional executive overreach by the National Park Service (NPS), which is specifically forbidden from regulating private lands and waters that happen to lie within Alaska's national parks and preserves.  Congress specifically declined to grant the NPS authority under the Property Clause and Commerce Clause of the Constitution, yet NPS is doing just that.  The brief is filed at the merits stage, which means the high court will consider the case in the coming months.  Sturgeon v. Frost, et al., No. 14-1209.

Click here for SLF Supreme Court amicus brief Nov. 30, 2015


Obamacare Tax: Started in Senate, So Violates Constitution, Nov. 30, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC/ATLANTA, GA (Nov. 30, 2015):  Southeastern Legal Foundation, along with the Tennessee-based Beacon Center, today filed an amicus brief challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), known as Obamacare, because the "on going tax" the high court identified in an earlier decision violates the Origination Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  The Clause holds that "all Bills for raising Revenue" must "originate in the House of Representatives."  Obamacare in its current form was a Senate bill.  SLF and Beacon Center filed the brief based on recent Supreme Court precedent that clearly held the fines and penalties in Obamacare are a tax.  Sissel v. Dept. of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 15-543

Click here for SLF/Beacon Center Supreme Court brief Nov. 30, 2015


Supreme Court Challenge Against "Regulatory Cartel" Nov. 18, 2015

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.

Click here for SLF amicus brief filed in U.S. Supreme Court Nov. 18, 2015

Nov162015 - Hurst Feelings vs. Actual Harm on Today's College Campuses, Nov. 16, 2015

As published on, 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 Op-Ed by SLF Nov. 16, 2015


Affordable Housing - But Who Pays for It? SLF Files Amicus in U.S. Supreme Court - Oct. 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


Supreme Court Takes College Admissions Case - Again! SLF Files Brief, Sept. 10, 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.

Click here for SLF's Supreme Court amicus brief