This article was posted on Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017

When William Murr enlisted in the Army to serve his country during World War II, he swore an oath to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” He took that oath seriously, which is why he would roll over in his grave if he could see how Big Government bureaucrats are trying to deprive his six children of their Constitutional right to the property he left them.

Our team here at Pacific Legal Foundation is now weeks away from arguing on behalf of William Murr’s children before the U.S. Supreme Court.  The outcome of this case will have profound impact – not just for the Murr family, but also for thousands of property owners across America.

The government exists to protect your right to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”  But I think you’d agree with me that nowadays, government seems more and more inclined to infringe on these rights, rather than protect them.  It’s time to fight back and put Big Government back on its leash.

This is exactly what our team here at Pacific Legal Foundation does every sing day … and it’s why we are fighting at the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the Murr family’s right to property and its reasonable use.

Allow me to start from the beginning.  In the early 1960’s, William Murr and his wife, Margaret bought a parcel of land on the St. Croix River in Wisconsin where they built a small cabin.  All they wanted was a place where they could take their six children in the summertime to get out and enjoy nature and bond as a family.

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A few years later, William and Margaret bought the parcel of land next to their cabin thinking it would be a good investment.  Year after year, the Murr family enjoyed coming to that cabin each summer to go fishing and canoeing.  There was nothing fancy about their little slice of paradise on the river, but it meant a lot to them.

When William and Margaret passed away some four decades later, they left the cabin and both parcels of land to their six children.  Meanwhile, the area had become quite built up with beautiful waterfront homes.  The Murr children, now adults, wanted to sell the vacant parcel of land their parents purchased as an investment and use that money to make some much needed repairs on the family cabin.

State and local officials forbid the Murr children from selling the vacant lot, citing a regulation that went into effect long after the Murr family purchased the property.  This new regulation says that two parcels of land that are next to each other and owned by the same people should be treated as one parcel, even if they were bought separately and for different purposes.  These government bureaucrats told the Murr family that they cannot sell the empty parcel of land and neither can they develop it.

Perhaps worst of all, during all these years, the government taxed their land as two separate parcels.  The Murrs paid property taxes on an empty parcel that now is of no use to them whatsoever!

The Fifth Amendment states that the government cannot take away a citizen’s private property without offering “just compensation.”  And the Fourteenth Amendment clearly states that the government cannot “deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”

By forbidding them to use or sell their own property, the government is essentially taking the Murr family’s property without due process and without payment of just compensation.

The right to own property is one of the most fundamental rights we have as Americans.  If the government can trample on this basic right, where does it stop?

That’s why our team here at Pacific Legal Foundation agreed to represent the Murr family free of charge in their fight to defend their Constitutional rights.  Thousands of property owners are counting on us to win this case at the U.S. Supreme Court and set this important precedent.  This isn’t the first time Big Government liberals have threatened to deprive American citizens of their rights … and it won’t be the last!


That’s why Ronald Reagan urged several of his top advisors to form Pacific Legal Foundation way back in 1973.  Ronald Reagan noticed that there were a lot of liberal public interest law firms like the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center.  But at that time, there wasn’t a single conservative group fighting for the Constitution in the courtroom.  Reagan’s advisors sought to fix that problem by forming Pacific Legal Foundation.

For the past 40 years, we have been fighting in defense of the Constitutional principles, limited government and individual liberty.  You may not have heard of us before, but believe me – you’ve benefited from the work we do.  We have won an impressive number of court cases that have served to restore individual liberty and rein in Big Government.

Our lawyers are extremely good at what they do, but you don’t have to take my word for it.  Our track record speaks for itself. Earlier this year, Pacific Legal Foundation won our 9th straight U.S. Supreme Court Case, which severely limited the Obama Administration’s ability to use the EPA to harass law-abiding landowners.

Winning this many Supreme Court cases in a row is almost unheard of!  In addition, we are currently fighting more than 120 cases in 30 states across the country.  And here’s the best part:  Pacific Legal Foundation never charges a dime for our services.  We aren’t in it for the money.  We fight each and every day for one reason – because we believe in our nation’s Founding Principles.

But the truth is, we don’t have unlimited resources like the federal government.  And unlike the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center, we don’t have billionaires like George Soros filling our coffers.  That’s why I’m reaching out to you.

My fellow American, will you please help us win our upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case on behalf of the Murr family by sending a tax-deductible gift of $25, $50 or $100?  Arguing a case before the U.S. Supreme Court is an incredibly involved process.  Our team estimates that this case is going to cost us roughly $250,000 when all is said and done.  On top of that, we still have over 120 other cases in courts across the country where we are helping everyday American citizens fight back against abusive bureaucrats.  Won’t you please help us make a stand before the U.S. Supreme Court in defense of the Constitution?

Let me be clear about the challenge we are facing …with Justice Scalia gone, we are facing an uphill battle to win this case.  We must convince at least one liberal on the court to side with us or we will lose.  It’s as simple as that.

The stakes are high and Pacific Legal Foundation is the right legal team with the best arguments for defending your freedoms.  But in order to be successful, we depend on the support of patriotic folks like you.  Please join Pacific Legal Foundation by sending a generous contribution of $25, $50 or $100 today.  If you are able and you see the importance of the work we’re doing, perhaps you will consider making an even larger contribution of $500 or $1,000.  No matter how much you can afford to give right now, please know that we cannot continue this fight without you.  Your support, no matter the size of your gift, is crucial.

In each and every one of our 120+ lawsuits, we are fighting for an American like you who has been bullied by abusive Big Government.  Without Pacific Legal Foundation, these folks would have no way of fighting back to defend their rights.

There’s no way the Murr family could afford the $250,000 they would need to hire lawyers to argue their case before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Without the help of patriots like you, they would have no other choice but to forfeit their rights to oppressive bureaucrats.  Make no mistake, our rights as Americans are under assault by government bureaucrats who see to rule our lives.  This assault is unlikely to stop anytime soon.  That’s why I hope you will give us the ability to fight back by sending your best tax-deductible contribution today.  I eagerly await your response. Thank you.

[Editor’s Note:  Pacific Legal Foundation is also currently suing the City of Highland over the right of the city to inspect properties.  AOA strongly opposes these warrantless inspection laws as being unconstitutional!   Please use this contribution form and  give your financial support to this great organization.  Thank you.  AOA President, Dan Faller.]


John M. Groen is Interim President of the Pacific Legal Foundation.  Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation ( is the leading watchdog organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, individual rights, and free enterprise, in courts nationwide. PLF represents all clients free of charge.  For more information, visit