PLF’s Hawkes property rights case draws broad amicus support
“Friends of the court” from coast to coast include individuals, businesses, organizations, and 29 states
SACRAMENTO, CA – March 16, 2016 – (RealEstateRama) — Scores of individuals, businesses, organizations, think tanks, and government entities, including 29 states, are siding with Pacific Legal Foundation as “friends of the court” in PLF’s high-profile Supreme Court case for property owners’ rights, United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc. As of today — a week after the deadline for filing as amicus curiae in PLF’s support — the count of briefs filed is 16. All of them urge the court to rule for PLF’s clients and establish the nationwide access-to-justice rule that PLF seeks:
Listen to a podcast about the amici briefs.
In glaring contrast to this parade of briefs siding with PLF, the federal government has received no amicus support in Hawkes.
“Each of the friend-of-the-court briefs offers a unique and powerful contribution,” said Mark Miller, managing attorney with PLF’s Atlantic Center and co-counsel in PLF’s Hawkes case. “But when taken together, they send an overwhelming message: justice requires that Americans have access to the courts when federal bureaucrats assert control of their land and their lives. When federal regulators determine that they have Clean Water Act jurisdiction over private property such that the owners need federal permission to ever use it, the Constitution, the Administrative Procedure Act, and fundamental fairness demand that a landowner have the right to seek review and relief before a neutral court.”
The list of “friends of the court” in support of PLF includes:
- West Virginia, Ohio, and 21 other states
- The states of North Dakota, Alaska, Colorado, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Idaho
- United States Chamber of Commerce
- National Federation of Independent Businesses Small Business Legal Center (NFIB)
- Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Colorado Mining Association, and the Ohio Coal Association
- National Association of Home Builders and National Association of Realtors
- California Farm Bureau, California Cattlemen’s Association, California Building Industry Association, Building Industry Legal Defense Foundation, & California Business Properties Association
- American Farm Bureau Federation, American Petroleum Institute, Associated General Contractors of America, National Association of Manufacturers, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and National Mining Association
- Ernest M. Park and Lauren Kent Park
- Foundation for Environmental and Economic Progress and Utility Water Act
- Council of State Governments, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the International City/County Management Association, and the International Municipal Lawyers Association
- Cato Institute
- Southeastern Legal Foundation
- Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence
- Mountain States Legal Foundation
- Cause of Action Institute
In this precedent-setting case, PLF’s clients are family-owned and run businesses — Hawkes Co., providing peat for golf courses and other sports turf applications; and Pierce Investment and LPF Properties, which own some peat land. They are prevented from using property in Marshall County, Minnesota, because federal officials have designated the land as “wetlands” subject to federal control.
“Our clients, along with everyone at PLF, are very grateful to all the parties that have submitted briefs in our support,” said PLF Principal Attorney M. Reed Hopper, who will argue the Hawkes case at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, March 30. “Along with all theseamici, we are standing up in this case for a vital principle. Landowners whose rights are threatened by regulatory agencies should not be denied their day in court. Otherwise, our system of checks and balances has no meaning.”
The case is United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc. More information, including PLF’s briefs, the amici briefs, a blog post, a PLF case video, and a podcast on theamici briefs, may be found at: www.pacificlegal.org.
About Pacific Legal Foundation
Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation is the leading legal watchdog organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, free enterprise, and a balanced approach to environmental regulations, in courts across the country. PLF represents all clients free of charge.
M. Reed Hopper
Pacific Legal Foundation
Managing Attorney, PLF Atlantic Center
Pacific Legal Foundation