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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

Friday
Dec092016

Trump EPA Pick Rule of Law, Not Rule of Regulators, Newsmax, Dec. 9, 2016

NATIONAL, Newsmax.com, Dec. 9, 2016:  Southeastern Legal Foundation's Todd Young today argues that Obama's EPA and environmental groups have created a toxic and unconstitutional pattern of insider dealing and executive overreach that must be curtailed by President-Elect Trump's pick to head the EPA, Oklahoma Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt, a veteran of Supreme Court battles challenging EPA overreach and violations of separation of powers from climate change regulations, to the so-called Clean Power Plan, to the waters of the United States (WOTUS) litigation -

Click here for Newsmax op-ed, Rule of Law, Not Rule of Regulators, Dec. 9, 2016

Thursday
Nov172016

DOJ Civil Rights Head In Place Illegally, Actions May Be Void, Nov. 17, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC (Nov. 17, 2016):  The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights division has been working in violation of federal law for more than a year and half, making several important decisions that are likely "void and . . . not subsequently ratified," according to Heritage Foundation constitutional scholar Hans von Spakovsky.

In a powerful article appearing today in the Daily Signal, von Spakovsky points out that a pending U.S. Supreme Court case, NLRB v. SW General (a case in which SLF joined as amicus - brief here), confirmed in a district court opinion that the Federal Vacancies Reform Act means what it says - the President must affirmatively appoint certain positions, including the assistant attorney general in charge of the DOJ Civil Rights division.  Failure to do so in the case of "acting deputy" Vanita Gupta means that she is serving without authority and, by the letter and intent of the law, her decisions and actions may be void and of no effect.

 

Monday
Nov072016

EPA'S "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS) Overreach - Merits Arguments Start in Sixth Circuit

ATLANTA, GA (Nov. 3, 2016):  More than a year ago, Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) filed our challenge to the EPA and Army Corp’s over-broad definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS Rule), under the Clean Water Act.  While the Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the proper venue for such a challenge, briefing on the merits of the case has started in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.  This week, SLF filed its joint industry opening brief arguing that the WOTUS Rule is invalid on its face and should be struck down.  Through the WOTUS Rule, the EPA and the Army Corps seeks to control nearly every piece of land in the United States.  Its unprecedented scope is irreconcilable with the Constitution, congressional intent, and Supreme Court precedent.  Briefing will continue through the end of March 2017.

Click here for SLF Sixth Circuit Merits Brief Challenging WOTUS

 

Friday
Oct212016

High-Level Government "Forget You..." - Freddie Mac Exec Takes Stand for Fifth Amendment Rights in Supreme Court, Oct. 21, 2016

ATLANTA, GA/WASHINGTON, DC (Oct. 21, 2016):  Southeastern Legal Foundation, joined by Cato Institute, today filed amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit supporting Anthony Piszel’s pursuit of justice and dedication to the rule of law. 

Mr. Piszel was the one-time CFO of Freddie Mac, a private lending organization sponsored by the government to provide stability in the housing market.  He was hired in 2006, and as part of his compensation package he was to receive stocks, incentive-based bonuses, and in the event of termination, a lump-sum payment.  When the federal government bailed-out the banks, it also created the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which subsequently took over Freddie Mac, a private company.  FHFA nearly immediately ordered Freddie Mac to cancel Mr. Piszel’s contract “without cause” and to not pay him the previously lump-sum payment. 

Mr. Piszel filed suit alleging that the government took his contractually guaranteed property and thus, violated the Fifth Amendment.  The lower court found Mr. Piszel had no property interest in his contract.  On appeal, a three-judge panel of the Federal Circuit correctly disagreed, holding the Mr. Piszel not only had a contractual property right protected by the Constitution.  However, the court continued and found that Mr. Piszel’s right was not “taken” because he could still sue for breach of contract.   Mr. Piszel has now asked the Federal Circuit for en banc review.  The three-judge panel was wrong and allows the government to terminate private contractual rights in direct violation of the Fifth Amendment.

Click here for SLF's Supreme Court amicus brief, Piszel v. U.S., Oct. 21, 2016