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Friday
Jan082016

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

Monday
Nov302015

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

Monday
Nov302015

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

Wednesday
Nov182015

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

Monday
Nov162015

TownHall.com - Hurt Feelings vs. Actual Harm on Today's College Campuses, Nov. 16, 2015

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

Tuesday
Oct202015

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

Friday
Sep112015

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

Tuesday
Sep012015

Donor Privacy for Non-Profits: Supreme Court Brief Defends Rights, Sept. 2, 2015

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.

Click here for Supreme Court amicus brief

Monday
Jul062015

NRA Hat - GA Voter Protects Rights, Ends Abuse, July 7, 2015

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.

Click here for Georgia Attorney General Opinion in Support of Cobb's Viewpoint

Click here for Formal Apology to Mr. Cobb from Douglas County Board of Elections and Registration

Click here for Formal Policy Change by Douglas County Board of Elections and Registration


Monday
Jun222015

California Raisin (Growers) Finally Vindicated - Supreme Court Victory, June 22, 2015

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).

Click here for Supreme Court decision in Horne case

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