The below article was written by Steven Anderson who serves as President and CEO of the Pacific Legal Foundation, joining in 2016. Founded in 1973, PLF litigates cases nationwide to vindicate the rights fundamental to a free society. With nine consecutive U.S. Supreme Court victories and counting, PLF fights on the front lines, ensuring individual liberty is secure. Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation (www.pacificlegal.org) 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 www.pacificlegal.org.
A New Year’s resolution often means starting something new. But at Pacific Legal Foundation, (PLF), our resolve year in and year out is to keep doing what we do best: planting the flag of liberty in courtrooms nationwide.
In 2017, our attorneys will keep fighting to uphold America’s founding principles of liberty and limited government; restrain overreaching bureaucracies and politicians of every political stripe; and protect freedom for future generations by winning lasting legal precedents across the nation.
Property rights will always be PLF’s signature cause.
Above all, we’ll continue serving as America’s ‘go to’ defender of the freedom that undergirds all others — the right to own and make productive use of private property.
Thanks to patriotic support from PLF’s donors, we have been winning precedent-setting victories for property rights for more than four decades — and 2017 offers more opportunities at every level of the judiciary.
Here are a few highlights of our property rights docket for 2017, with the stakes as high as ever:
We Will Be Championing Property Rights, Once Again, at the Supreme Court
We have high hopes of extending our unsurpassed winning streak at the U.S. Supreme Court, with a victory in the important property rights case of Murr v. Wisconsin and St. Croix County. The justices have already agreed to hear the case, and the coming months will bring an announcement of a date for oral argument.
We are eager for that day, when PLF will stand in defense of the children of the late plumber, William Murr, and his wife Dorothy. Local bureaucrats concocted an excuse to confiscate, without any reimbursement, the family’s use of a legacy from their parents — a riverfront parcel purchased years ago as a family investment.
We are aiming for a ruling that will right the wrong done to the Murr family and protect all Americans from similar injustices.
A Marathon Battle for Liberty
Gordon and Molly Beyer had a dream decades ago, when they bought a small island off the City of Marathon in the Florida Keys. They would build a home where their family could gather for generations to come.
But local bureaucrats stole their dream. Before the Beyers could move forward with their home plans, regulators changed the rules and banned any form of construction, designating the island as a bird preserve.
In return, the Beyers were offered counterfeit “compensation”: some “development credits” that in theory might let them build something on some other property at some other time.
The Beyers knew they’d been robbed of their rights, so they headed to court. The case has gone on for years, outliving Gordon and Molly. Today, their grown children are carrying on the fight, and they have turned to PLF for help. We are prepared to defend their rights all the way to the Supreme Court.
Standing Up Against a West Hollywood Shakedown
At the other end of the continent, in West Hollywood, California, officials have hatched an extortion plot to fleece a couple of more than $540,000 as the price for a permit to build a small condominium project.
This staggering sum, imposed on Shelah and Jonathan Lehrer-Graiwer, is labeled an “affordable housing” fee. But it’s really a shakedown. The city itself has admitted that the 11-unit project doesn’t create affordable housing problems, but actually helps meet regional housing needs.
Shelah and Jonathan asked PLF for help, and we are representing them in challenging the city’s rapacious financial demand as an unconstitutional “taking.”
The fee’s whopping size looks like outright government greed. “It equals the full construction cost of one of the larger units,” Jonathan points out. “It is also equal to 30% of the total project profit — so it is the equivalent of a 30% net income tax. Clearly, this fee cannot be justified by any calculus of fairness or constitutionality, and my wife and I are grateful for PLF’s help in fighting it.”
To all our supporters: THANK YOU for giving us the resources to prosecute these vital pro-freedom cases — and many more like them! In 2017, please keep donating generously, so PLF can keep scoring new triumphs for liberty, limited government — and the property rights that protect everyone!
Steven Anderson serves as President and CEO of the Pacific Legal Foundation, joining in 2016. Founded in 1973, PLF litigates cases nationwide to vindicate the rights fundamental to a free society. With nine consecutive U.S. Supreme Court victories and counting, PLF fights on the front lines, ensuring individual liberty is secure. Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation (www.pacificlegal.org) 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 www.pacificlegal.org, call (916) 419-7111 or write PLF at 930 G. Street, Sacramento, CA 95814.